Skip to main content

Full text of "Passages from the diary of a late physician"

See other formats


PASSACES 



riKIM THE 



DIARY OF A LATE PHYSICIAN. 

WITH NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS 
BY THE EDITOR. 



IN TWO VOLUMES. 
VOL. II. 



THIRD EDITION, 



WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, EDINBURGH; AND 

T. C A DELL, STRAND, LONDON. 

MDCCCXXX1V. 



PRINTKD l!V NKILL & CO., OLD F ISHIVI ARK ET, KDINBITIIKH. 



CONTENTS OF VOLUME SECOND. 



CHAP. I. THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN, 

NOTE, ..... 

II. THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER, 

III. THE STATESMAN, .... 

NOTE TO THE FRENCH TRANSLATOR, 

IV. A SLIGHT COLD, .... 
V. RICH AND POOR, .... 

VI. THE RUINED MERCHANT, . 
VII. MOTHER AND SON, .... 
LETTER FROM THE MORNING HERALD, 



Page 

1 

11 

42 
103 
172 
174 
193 
212 
267 
353 



DIARY 



A LATE PHYSICIAN. 



CHAPTER I. 
THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

Few topics of medical literature have occasioned more 
wide and contradictory speculation than that of insanity, 
with reference, as well to its predisposing and immediate 
causes, as its best method of treatment. Since experi- 
ence is the only substratum of real knowledge, the easiest 
and surest way of arriving at those general principles 
which may regulate both our pathological and therapeu- 
tical researches, especially concerning the subtle, almost 
inscrutable disorder, mania, — is, when one does meet 
with some striking, well marked case, to watch it close- 
ly throughout, and be particularly anxious to seize on 
all those smaller features — those more transient indica- 
tions, which are truer characteristics of the complaint 
than perhaps any other. With this object did I pay close 
attention to the very singular and affecting case detailed 
in the following narrative. I have not given the whole 

VOL. II. A 



- THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

of my observations — far from it; those only are recorded 
which seemed to me to have some claims to the consi- 
deration of both medical and general readers The ap- 
parent eccentricity of the title will be found account- 
ed for in the course of the narrative. 

Mr M , as one of a very large party, had been en- 
joying the splendid hospitality of Lady , and did 

not leave till a late — or rather, early — hour in the morn- 
ing. Pretty women, music, and champagne, had almost 
turned his head ; and it was rather fortunate for him that 
a hackney-coach stand was within a stone's throw of the 
house he was leaving. Muffling his cloak closely around 
him, he contrived to move towards it in a tolerably di- 
rect line, and a few moments' time beheld him driving 
at the usual snail's pace of those rickety vehicles, to Lin- 
coln's Inn ; for Mr M was a law student. In spite 

of the transient exhilaration produced by the scenes he 
had just quitted, and the excitement consequent on the 
prominent share he took in an animated, though acci- 
dental, discussion, in the presence of about thirty of the 
most elegant women that could well be brought together, 
he found himself becoming the subject of a most unac- 
countable depression of spirits. Even while at Lady 

's, he had latterly perceived himself talking often 

for mere talking sake — the chain of his thoughts perpe- 
tually broken — and an impatience and irritability of 
manner towards those whom he addressed, which he read- 
ily resolved, however, into the reaction following high 

excitement. M , I ought before, perhaps, to have 

mentioned, was a man of great talent, chiefly, however, 
imaginative ; and had that evening been particularly 
brillianton his favourite topic — diablerie and mysticism; 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 3 

towards which he generally contrived to incline every 
conversation in which he bore a part. He had been di- 
lating, in particular, on the power possessed by Mr Ma- 
turin of exciting the most fearful and horrific ideas in 
the minds of his readers, instancing a particular passage 
of one of his romances — the title of which I have for- 
gotten — where the fiend suddenly presents himself to 
his appalled victim, amidst the silence and gloom of his 
prison cell. Long before he had reached home, the fumes 
of wine had evaporated, and the influence of excitement 
subsided ; and with reference to intoxication, he was as 
sober and calm as ever he was in his life. Wliy he knew 
not, but his heart seemed to grow heavier and heavier, 
and his thoughts gloomier, every step by which he near- 
ed Lincoln's Inn. It struck three o'clock as he entered 
the sombrous portals of the ancient inn of court. The 
perfect silence, — the moonlight shining sadly on the dus- 
ky buildings — the cold quivering stars — all these to- 
gether, combined to enhance his nervousness. He de- 
scribed it tome as though things seemed to wear a strange, 
spectral, supernatural aspect. Not a watchman of the 
inn was heard crying the hour — not a porter moving — 
no living being but himself visible in the large square 
he was crossing. As he neared his staircase, he perceived 
his heart fluttering ; in short, he felt under some strange 
unaccountable influence, which, had he reflected a little, 
he would have discovered to arise merely from an excit- 
able nervous temperament, operating on an imagination 
peculiarly attuned to sympathies with terror. His cham- 
bers lay on the third floor of the staircase ; and on reach- 
ing it, he found his door-lamp glimmering with its last 
expiring ray. He opened his door, and after groping 



4 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

some time in the dark of his sitting-room, found his 
chamber candlestick. In attempting to light his candle, 
he put out the lamp. He went down stairs, but found 
that the lamp of every landing had shared the fate of 
his own ; so he returned, rather irritated, thinking to 
amerce the porter of his customary Christmas-box for 
his niggard supply of oil. After some time spent in the 
search, he discovered his tinder-box, and proceeded to 
strike a light. This was not the work of a moment. 
And where is the bachelor to whom it is ? The potent 
spark, however, dropped at last into the very centre of 

the soft tinder. M blew — it caught — spread — the 

match quickly kindled, and he lighted his candle. He 
took it in his hand, and was making for bed, when his 
eyes caught a glimpse of an object which brought him 
senseless to the floor. The furniture of his room was 
disposed as when he had left it ; for his laundress had 
neglected to come and put things in order : the table, 
with a few books on it, was drawn towards the fire-place, 
and by its side stood the ample-cushioned easy-chair. 
The first object visible, with sudden distinctness, was a 
figure sitting in the arm-chair. It was that of a gentle- 
man dressed in dark-coloured clothes, his hands, white 
as alabaster, closed together over his lap, and the face 
looking away ; but it turned slowly towards M , re- 
vealing to him a countenance of a ghastly hue — the fea- 
tures glowing like steel heated to a white heat, and the 
two eyes turned full towards him, and blazing — absolute- 
ly blazing, he described it — with a most horrible lustre. 

The appalling spectre, while M 's eyes were rivetted 

upon it, though glazing fast with fright, slowly rose from 
its seat, stretched out both its arms, and seemed ap- 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. O 

proaching him, when he fell down senseless on the floor, 
as if smitten with apoplexy. He recollected nothing more, 
till he found himself, about the middle of the next day, 
in bed, "his laundress, myself, an apothecary, and several 
others, standing round him. His situation was not disco- 
vered till more than an hour after he had fallen, as near- 
ly as could be subsequently ascertained, nor would it 
then, but for a truly fortunate accident. He had neglected 
to close either of his outer-doors, (I believe it is usual 
for chambers in the inns of court to have double outer- 
doors,) and an old woman, who happened to be leaving 

the adjoiningset, about five o'clock, on seeing Mr M 's 

doors both open, at such an untimely hour, was induced, 
by feelings of curiosity and alarm, to return to the rooms 
she had left, for a light, with which she entered his cham- 
bers, after having repeatedly called his name without re- 
ceiving any answer. What will it be supposed had been 
her occupation at such an early hour in the adjoining 
chambers ? — Laying out the corpse of their occupant, a 

Mr T , who had expired about eight o'clock the 

preceding evening ! 

Mr M had known him, though not very inti- 
mately : and there were some painful circumstances at- 
tending his death, which, even though on no other 

grounds than mere sympathy, M had laid much to 

heart. In addition to this, he had been observed by his 
friends as being latterly the subject of very high excite- 
ment, owing to the successful prosecution of an affair of 
great interest and importance *. We all accounted for 
his present situation, by referring it to some apoplectic 
seizure ; for we were of course ignorant of the real oc- 

* An extensive literary undertaking. 



b THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

casion, fright, which I did not learn till long afterwards. 

The laundress told me, that she found Mr M , to her 

great terror, stretched motionless, along the floor, in his 
cloak and full dress, and with a candlestick lying beside 
him. She at first supposed him intoxicated ; but on find- 
ing all her efforts to rouse him unsuccessful, and seeing 
his fixed features and rigid frame, she hastily summon- 
ed to her assistance a fellow-laundress, whom she had 
left in charge of the corpse next door, undressed him, 
and laid him on the bed. A neighbouring medical man 
was then called in, who pronounced it to be a case of 
epilepsy ; and he was sufficiently warranted by the ap- 
pearance of a little froth about the lips, prolonged stu- 
por, resembling sleep, and frequent convulsions of the 
most violent kind. The remedies resorted to produced 
no alleviation of the symptoms ; and matters continued 
to wear such a threatening and alarming aspect, that I 
was summoned in by his brother, and was at his bedside 
by two o'clock. His countenance was dark and highly 
intellectual : its lineaments were, naturally, full of power 
and energy ; but now, overclouded with an expression 
of trouble and horror. He was seized with a dreadful 
fit soon after I had entered the room. Oh ! it is a pi- 
teous and shocking spectacle to see the human frame 
subjected to such demoniacal twitchings and contortions, 
which are so sudden — so irresistible, as to suggest the 
idea of some vague terrible, exciting cause, which can- 
not be discovered : as though the sufferer lay passive in 
the grasp of some messenger of darkness " sent to buffet 
him." * 

* The popular etymology of the word epilepsy, sanctioned by seve- 
ral reputable class-books of the profession, which are now lying before 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 7 

M was a very powerful man ; and, during the fits, 

it was next to impossible for all present, united, to con- 
trol his movements. The foam at his mouth suggested 
to his terrified brother the harrowing suspicion that the 
case was one of hydrophobia. None of my remonstran- 
ces or assurances to the contrary sufficed to quiet him, 
and his distress added to the confusion of the scene. Af- 
ter prescribing to the best of my ability, I left, consider- 
ing the case to be one of simple epilepsy. During the 
rest of the day and night, the fits abated both in vio- 
lence and frequency ; but he was left in a state of the 
utmost exhaustion, from which, however, he seemed to 
be rapidly recovering during the space of the four suc- 

me, — i. e. WiXKl^i;, is erroneous, and more — nonsensical. For the 
information of general readers, I may state, that its true derivation is 
from \aju.(ldvt», through its Ionic obsolete form x»J/3<a : whence l<ri- 
IHifif, — a seizing, a holding fast. Therefore we speak of an attack 
of epilepsy. This etymology is highly descriptive of the disease in ques- 
tion ; for the sudden prostration, rigidity, contortions, &c. of the pa- 
tient, strongly suggest the idea that he has been taken or seized, (Ivn- 
XjjipSs;?,) by, as it were, some external invisible agent. It is worthy 
of notice by the way, that £*/Xjnrr<xo5 is used by ecclesiastical writers 
to denote a person possessed by a demon. — "EviXti-^/is, signifies sim- 
ply, " failure, deficiency." I shall conclude this note with a practi- 
cal illustration of the necessity which calls it forth, — the correction of 
a prevalent error. A flippant student, who, I was given to understand, 
plumed himself much among his companions'on his Greek, was sudden- 
ly asked by one of his examiners for a definition of epilepsy, grounded 
on its etymology. I forget the definition, which was given with infi- 
nite self-sufficiency of tone and manner ; but the fine touch of scholar- 
ship with which it was finished off, I well recollect : — " From itrfouifns 

(ixi-Xuiru — I fail, am wanting;) therefore sir, epilepsy is a failure 

of animal functions I" — The same sage definition is regularly given by 
a well-known metropolitan lecturer ! 



8 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

ceeding days ; when I was suddenly summoned to his 
bedside, which I had left only two hours before, with 
the intelligence that he had disclosed symptoms of more 
alarming illness than ever. I hurried to his chambers, 
and found that the danger had not been magnified. One 
of his friends met me on the staircase, and told me that 

about half an hour before, while he and Mr C M , 

the patient's brother, were sitting beside him, he sud- 
denly turned to the latter, and inquired, in a tone full of 
apprehension and terror, — " Is Mr T dead ?" 

" Oh, dear ! yes — he died several days ago," was the 
reply. 

" Then it was he," — he gasped — " it was he whom I 
saw, and he is surely — damned ! — Yes, merciful Maker! 
— he is ! — he is," — he continued, elevating his voice to 
a perfect roar, — " and the flames have reduced his face 
to ashes ! — Horror ! horror ! horror !" — He then shut his 
eyes, and relapsed into silence for about ten minutes, 
when he exclaimed, — " Hark you, there — secure me ! 
tie me ! make me fast, or I shall burst upon you and de- 
stroy you all — for I am going mad — I feel it !" He 
ceased, and commenced breathing fast and heavily, his 
chest heaving as if under the pressure of enormous 
weight, and his swelling, quivering features evidencing 
the dreadful uproar within. Presentl^he began to grind 
his teeth, and his expanding eyes glared about in all di- 
rections, as though following the motions of some fright- 
ful object, and he muttered fiercely through his closed 
teeth, — " Oh ! save me from him — save me — save me !" 

It was a fearful thing to see him lying in such a state, 
— -grinding his teeth as if he would crush them to pow- 
der — his livid lips crested with foam — his features swol- 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 9 

len — writhing — blackening ; and, which gave his face a 
peculiarly horrible and fiendish expression, his eyes dis- 
torted, or inverted upwards, so that nothing but the glar- 
ing whites of them could be seen — his whole frame ri- 
gid — and his hands clenched, as though they would ne- 
ver open again ! It is a dreadful tax on one's nerves to 
have to encounter such objects, familiar though medical 
men are with such and similar spectacles ; and in the pre- 
sent instance, every one round the bedside of the unfortu- 
nate patient stood trembling with pale and momentarily 
averted faces. The ghastly, fixed, upturning of the eyes 
in epileptic patients, fills me with horror whenever I re- 
call their image to my mind ! 

The return of these epileptic fits, in such violence, and 
after such an interval, alarmed me with apprehensions, 
lest, as is not unfrequently the case, apoplexy should su- 
pervene, or even ultimate insanity. It was rather singu- 
lar that M was never known to have had an epi- 
leptic fit previous to the present seizure, and he was then 
in his twenty-fifth year. I was conjecturing what sud- 
den fright or blow, or accident of any kind, or conges- 
tion of the vessels of the brain from frequent inebriation, 
could have brought on the present fit, when my patient, 
whose features had gradually sunk again into their natu- 
ral disposition, gave a sigh of exhaustion — the perspira- 
tion burst forth, and he murmured — some time before 
we could distinctly catch the words, — " Oh — spectre- 
smitten ! — spectre-smitten !" — which expression I have 
adopted as the title of this paper — " I shall never recover 
again !" — Though sufficiently surprised, and perplexed 
about the import of the words, we took no notice of them ; 
but endeavoured to divert his thoughts from the fantasy, 



10 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

if such there were, which seemed to possess them, by in- 
quiring into the nature of his symptoms. He disregard- 
ed us, however ; feebly grasped my hand in his clammy 
fingers, and looking at me languidly, muttered — " What 
— Oh, what brought the fiend into my chambers?" — 
And I felt his whole frame pervaded by a cold shiver — 
" Poor T ! Horrid fate !" — On hearing him men- 
tion T 's name, we all looked simultaneously at one 

another, but without speaking ; for a suspicion crossed 
our minds, that his highly wrought feelings, acting on a 
strong imagination, always tainted with superstitious 
terrors, had conjured up some hideous object, which had 
scared him nearly to madness — probably some fancied 
apparition of his deceased neighbour. He began again 
to utter long deep-drawn groans, that gradually gave 
place to the heavy stertorous breathing, which, with other 
symptoms — his pulse, for instance, beating about 115 
a-minute — confirmed me in the opinion that he was suf- 
fering from a very severe congestion of the vessels of 
the brain. I directed copious venesection * — his head 
to be shaven, and covered perpetually with cloths soaked 
in evaporating lotions — blisters behind his ears, and at 
the nape of the neck — and appropriate internal medi- 
cines. I then left him, apprehending the worst conse- 
quences : for I had once before a similar case under my 
care — one in which a young lady was, which I strongly 
suspected to be the case with M , absolutely frighten- 
ed to death, and went through nearly the same round of 
symptoms as those which were beginning to make their 
appearance in my present patient, — a sudden epileptic 
* For using this word, and one above, " stertorous," a weekly work 
accuses the writer of pedantry ! 



THK SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 1 1 

seizure, terminating in outrageous madness, which de- 
stroyed both the physical and intellectual energies ; and 
the young lady expired. I may possibly hereafter pre- 
pare for publication some of my notes other case, which 
had some very remarkable features *. 

* Through want of time and room, I am compelled to condense my 
memoranda of the case alluded to into a note. The circumstances occur- 

ed in the year 1813. The Hon. Miss was a young woman about 

eighteen or twenty years of age ; and being of a highly fanciful turn, be- 
took herself to congenial literature, in the shape of novels and romances, 
especially those which dealt with " unearthlies." They pushed out of 
her head all ideas of real life ; for morning, noon, and night, beheld her 
bent over the pages of some absorbing tale or other, to the exclusion of 
all other kinds of reading. The natural consequence of all this was, that 
she became one of the most fanciful and timorous creatures breathing. 
She had worked herself up to such a morbid pitch of sensitiveness and 
apprehension, that she dared hardly be alone even during the day ; and 
as for night-time, she had a couple of candles always burning in her bed- 
room, and her maid sleeping with her on a side-bed. 

One night, about twelve o'clock, Miss and her maid retired to 

bed, the former absorbed and lost in the scenes of a petrifying romance 
she had finished reading only an hour before. Her maid had occasion 
to go down stairs again for the purpose of fetching up some curling pa- 
pers ; and she had scarcely reached the lower landing on her return, be- 
fore she heard a faint scream proceed from her young mistress's cham- 
ber. On hurrying back, the servant beheld Miss stretched sense- 
less on the floor, with both hands pressed upon her eyes. She instantly 

roused the whole family ; but their efforts were unavailing. Miss 

was in a fit of epilepsy, and medical assistance was called in. I was one 
of the first that was summoned. For two days she lay in a state closely 

resembling that of Mr M in the text ; but in about a week's time 

she recovered consciousness, aud was able to converse calmly and con- 
nectedly. She told me that she had been frightened into the fit : that 
a few moments after the maid had left her, on the night alluded to, she 
sat down before her dressing glass, which had two candles, in branches 
from each side of it. She was hardly seated before a ' ' strange sensa- 
tion seized her," — to use her own words. She felt cold and nervous. 



12 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

The next morning, about eleven, saw me again at Mr 
M 's chambers, where I found three or four mem- 
bers of his family — two of them his married sisters — 
seated round his sitting-room fire, in melancholy silence. 

The bedroom was both spacious and gloomy ; and she did not relish the 
idea of being left alone in it. She rose and went towards the bed for her 
nightcap ; and, on pushing aside the heavy damask curtains, she heard a 
rustling noise on the opposite side of the bed, as if some one had hastily 
leaped off. She trembled, and her heart beat hard. She resumed her 
seat, however, with returning self-possession, on hearing the approach- 
ing footsteps of her maid. On suddenly directing her eyes towards the 
glass, they met the dim outline of a figure standing close behind her, with 
frightful features, and a pendant plume, of a faint fiery hue ! The rest 
has been told. Her mind, however, long weakened, and her physical 
energies disordered, had received too severe a shock to recover from it 
quickly. A day or two after Miss had told me the above, she suf- 
fered a sudden and most unexpected relapse. Oh, that merciless, and 
fiendish epilepsy ! — how it tossed about those tender limbs ! — how it 
distorted and convulsed those fair and handsome features ! To see the 
mild eye of beauty subjected to the horrible up-turned glare described 
above, and the slender fingers black and clenched — the froth bubbling on 
the lips — the grinding of the teeth ! — would it not shock and wring the 
heart of the beholder ? It did mine, accustomed as I am to such spec- 
tacles. 

Insanity, at length, made its appearance, and locked its hapless victim 
in its embraces for nearly a year. She was removed to a private asylum ; 
and for six weeks was chained by a staple to the wall of her bedroom, in 
addition to enduring a strait waistcoat. On one occasion, I saw her in 
one of her most frantic moods. She cursed and swore in the most dia- 
bolic manner, and yelled, and laughed, and chattered her teeth, and spit ! 
The beautiful hair had been shaved off, and was then scarce half an inch 
long, so that she hardly looked like a female about the head. The eyes, 
too, were surrounded by dark areola, and her mouth disfigured by her 
swollen tongue and lips, which she had severely bitten. She motioned 
me to draw near her, when she had become a little more tranquil, and I 
thoughtlessly acceded. When I was within a foot of her, she made a 
6udden and desperate plunge towards me, motioning with her lips as 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 13 

Mr ■ , the apothecary, had just left, but was expected 

to return every moment, to meet me in consultation. 
My patient lay alone in his bedroom, asleep, and appa- 
rently better than he had been since his first seizure. 
He had experienced only one slight fit during the night ; 
and though he had been a little delirious in the earlier 
part of the evening, he had been, on the whole, so calm 
and quiet, that his friends' apprehensions of insanity were 
beginning to subside ; so he was left, as I said, alone ; 
for the nurse, just before my arrival, had left her seat by 
his bedside for a few moments, thinking him " in a com- 
fortable and easy nap," and was engaged, in a low whis- 
per, conversing with the members of M 's family, 

who were in the sitting-room. Hearing such a report 
of my patient, I sat down quietly among his relatives, 
determining not to disturb him, at least till the arrival 
of the apothecary. Thus were we engaged, questioning 
the nurse in an under tone, when a loud laugh from the 
bedroom suddenly silenced our whisperings, and turned 
us all pale. We started to our feet with blank amaze- 
ment in each countenance, scarcely crediting the evi- 
dence of our senses. Could it be M ? It must ; 

there was none else in the room. What, then, was he 
laughing about ? 

though she would have torn me, like a tigress its prey ! I thank God that 

her hands were handcuffed behind her, or I must have suffered severely. 

She once hit off the little finger of one of the nurses who was feeding her ! 

a • • • • 

When she was sufficiently recovered to be removed from . House, 

she was taken to the south of France by my directions. She was in a 
very shattered state of health, and survived her removal no more than 
three months. 

Who can deny that this poor girl fell a victim to the pestilent effects 
of romance reading V 



14 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

While we were standing silently gazing on one an- 
other, with much agitation, the laugh was repeated, but 
longer and louder than before, accompanied with the 
sound of footsteps, now crossing the room — then, as if 
of one jumping ! The ladies turned paler than before, 
and seemed scarcely able to stand. They sank again in- 
to their chairs, gasping with terror. " Go in, nurse, and 
see what's the matter," said I, standing by the side of 
the younger of the ladies, whom I expected every instant 
to fall into my arms in a swoon. 

" Doctor ! — go in ? — I — I — I dare not !" stammered 
the nurse, pale as ashes, and trembling violently. 

" Do you come here, then, and attend to Mrs ," 

said I, " and I will go in." The nurse staggered to my 
place, in a state not far removed from that of the lady 
whom she was called to attend ; for a third laugh, — long, 
loud, uproarious, — had burst from the room while I was 
speaking. After cautioning the ladies and the nurse to 
observe profound silence, and not to attempt following 
me till I sent for them, I stepped noiselessly to the bed- 
room door, and opened it slowly and softly, not to alarm 
him. All was silent within ; but the first object that 
presented itself, when I saw fairly into the room, can 
never be effaced from my mind to the day of my death. 
Mr M had got out of bed *, pulled off his shirt, and 

• Since this was published, I have been favoured, by Sir Henry Hal- 
ford, with the sight of a narrative of a case remarkably similar to the pre- 
sent one, but told, I need hardly say, with far more graphic ability. I 
hope — nay I believe — it will shortly be published by the learned and ac- 
complished Baronet. [It has — in the " Essays and Orations read and 
delivered at the Royal College of Physicians, " &c. &c. since published. 
— Note to the Third Edition.] 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 15 

stepped to the dressing-table, where he stood stark naked 
before the glass, with a razor in his right hand, with which 
he had just finished shaving off his eyebrows ; and he 
was eyeing himself steadfastly in the glass, holding the 
razor elevated above his head. On seeing the door open, 
and my face peering at him, he turned full towards me, 
(the grotesque aspect of his countenance — denuded of 
so prominent a feature as the eyebrows, and his head 
completely shaved, and the wild-fire of madness flash- 
ing from his staring eyes, exciting the most frightful 
ideas,) brandishing the razor over his head with an air 
of triumph, and shouting nearly at the top of his voice 
— " Ah, ha, ha ! — What do you think of this ?" 

Merciful Heaven ! May I never be placed again in such 
perilous circumstances, nor have my mind overwhelmed 
with such a gush of horror as burst over it at that mo- 
ment ! What was I to do ? Obeying a sudden impulse, 
I had entered the room, shutting the door after me ; and, 
should any one in the sitting-room suddenly attempt to 
open it again, or make a noise or disturbance of any 
kind, by giving vent to their emotions, what was to be- 
come of the madman or ourselves ? He might, in an 
instant, almost sever his head from his shoulders, or burst 
upon me or his sisters, and do us some deadly mischief! 
I felt conscious that the lives of all of us depended on 
my conduct ; and I devoutly thank God for the measure 
of tolerable self-possession which was vouchsafed to me 
at that dreadful moment. I continued standing like a 
statue — motionless and silent — endeavouring to fix my 
eye on him, that I might gain the command of his ; that 
successful, I had some hopes of being able to deal with 
him. He, in turn, now stood speechless, and I thought 
he was quailing — that I had overmastered him — when 



16 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

I was suddenly fit to faint with despair, for at that aw- 
ful instant I heard the door-handle tried — the door push- 
ed gently open — and saw the nurse, I supposed, or one 
of the ladies, peeping through it. The maniac also heard 
it — the spell was broken — and, in a frenzy, he leaped 
several times successively in the air, brandishing the 
razor over his head as before. 

While he was in the midst of these feats, I turned my 
head hurriedly to the person who had so cruelly dis- 
obeyed my orders, thereby endangering my life — and 
whispered in low affrighted accents, — " At the peril of 
your lives — of mine — shut the door — away, away — hush ! 
or we are all murdered !" I was obeyed — the intruder 
withdrew, and I heard a sound as if she had fallen to 
the floor— probably in a swoon. Fortunately the mad- 
man was so occupied with his antics, that he did not 
observe what had passed at the door. It was the nurse 
who made the attempt to discover what was going on, 
I afterwards learnt — but unsuccessfully, for she had seen 
nothing. My injunctions were obeyed to the letter, for 
they maintained a profound silence, unbroken, but by a 
faint sighing sound, which I should not have heard, but 
that my ears were painfully sensitive to the slightest 
noise. To return, however, to myself, and my fearful 
chamber companion. 

" Mighty talisman !" he exclaimed, holding the razor 
before him, and gazing earnestly at it, " how utterly un- 
worthy — how infamous the common use men put thee 
to !" Still he continued standing, with his eyes fixed 
intently upon the deadly weapon — I all the while utter- 
ing not a sound, nor moving a muscle, but waiting for 
our eyes to meet once more. 

" Ha — Doctor ' — Jmw pasilv T keen von at bav. 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 17 

though little my weapon — thus" — he exclaimed gaily, at 
the same time assuming one of the postures of the broad- 
sword exercise — but I observed that he cautiously avoid- 
ed meeting my eye again. I crossed my arms .submis- 
sively on my breast, and continued in perfect silence, 
endeavouring, but in vain, to catch a glance of his eye. 
I did not wish to excite any emotion in him, except such 
as might have a tendency to calm, pacify, disarm him. 
Seeing me stand thus, and manifesting no disposition to 
meddle with him, he raised his left hand to his face, and 
rubbed his lingers rapidly over the site of his shaved eye- 
brows. He seemed, I thought, inclined to go over them 
a second time, when a knock Avas heard at the outer 
chamber door, which I instantly recognised as that of 

Mr , the apothecary. The madman also heard it, 

turned suddenly pale, and moved away from the glass 
opposite which he had been stooping. " Oh — oh !" he 
groaned, while his features assumed an air of the blankest 
affright, every muscle quivering, and every limb trem- 
bling from head to foot, — " Is that — is — is that T 

come for me ?" He let fall the razor on the floor, and, 
clasping his hands in an agony of apprehension, he re- 
treated, crouching and cowering down towards the more 
distant part of the room, where he continued peering 
round the bed-post, his eyes straining as though they 
would start from their sockets, and fixed steadfastly upon 
the door. I heard him rustling the bed-curtain, and 
shaking it ; but very gently, as if wishing to cover and 
conceal himself within its folds. 

O humanity ! — Was that poor being — that pitiable 

maniac — was that the once gay, gifted, brilliant M ? 

To return. My attention was wholly occupied with 

VOL. II. B 



18 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

one object, the razor on the floor. How I thanked God 
for the gleam of hope that all might yet be right — that 
I might succeed in obtaining possession of the deadly 
weapon, and putting it beyond his reach ! But how was 
I to do all this ? I stole gradually towards the spot where 
the razor lay, without removing once my eye from his, 
nor he his from the dreaded door, intending, as soon as 
I should have come pretty near it, to make a sudden 
snatch at the horrid implement of destruction. I did — 
I succeeded — I got it into my possession, scarcely cre- 
diting my senses. I had hardly grasped my prize, when 
the door opened, and Mr — - — , Ihe apothecary, entered, 
sufficiently startled and bewildered, as it may be sup- 
posed, with the strange aspect of things. 

" Ha — ha — ha ! It's you, is it — 'it's you — you ana- 
tomy ! You plaster ! How dare you mock me in this 
horrid way, eh ?" shouted the maniac, and springing like 
a lion from his lair, he made for the spot where the con- 
founded apothecary stood, stupified with terror. I verily 
believe he would have been destroyed, torn to pieces, 
or cruelly maltreated in some way or other, had I not 
started and thrown myself between the maniac and the 
unwitting object of his vengeance, exclaiming at the same 
time, as a dernier resort, a sudden and strong appeal to 
his fears — " Remember ! — T ! T ! T !" 

" I do — I — do!" stammered the maniac, stepping back, 
perfectly aghast. He seemed utterly petrified, and sank 
shivering down again into his former position at the cor- 
ner of the bed, moaning — " Oh me ! wretched me ! Away 

— away — away !" I then stepped to Mr , who had 

not moved an inch, directed him to retire instantly, con - 
duct all the females out of the chambers, and return as 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 19 

soon as possible with two or three of the inn-porters, or 
any other able-bodied men he could procure on the spur 
of the moment ; and I concluded by slipping the razor, 
unobservedly, as I thought, into his hands, and bidding 
him remove it to a place of safety. He obeyed, and I 
found myself once more alone with the madman. 

" M ! — dear Mr M ! — I've got something 

to say to you — I have indeed ; it's very — very particu- 
lar." I commenced approaching him slowly, and speak- 
ing the softest tones conceivable. 

" But you've forgotten this, you fool, you ! — you 
have !" he replied fiercely, approaching the dressing-table, 
and suddenly seizing another razor — the fellow of the one 
I had got hold of with such pains and peril — and which, 
alas, alas ! had never once caught my eye ! I gave my- 
self up for lost, fully expecting that I should be murder- 
ed, when I saw the bloodthirsty spirit with which he 
clutched it, brandished it over his head, and with a smile 
of fiendish derision, shook it full before me ! I trembled, 
however, the next moment, for himself, for he drew it 
rapidly to and fro before his throat, as though he would 
give the fatal gash, but did not touch the skin. He gnash- 
ed his teeth with a kind of savage satisfaction at the 
dreadful power with which he was consciously armed. 

" Oh, Mr M ! think of your poor mother and sis- 
ters !" I exclaimed in a sorrowful tone, my voice fal- 
tering with uncontrollable agitation. He shook the 
razor again before me with an air of defiance, and really 
" grinned horribly a ghastly smile." 

" Now, suppose I choose to punish your perfidy, you 
wretch ! and do what you dread, eh ?" said he, holding 
the razor as if he were going to cut his throat. 



20 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

" Why, wouldn't it be nobler to forgive and forget, 
Mr M ?" I replied, with tolerable firmness, and fold- 
ing my arms on my breast, anxious to appear quite at 
ease. 

" Too — too' — too, Doctor ! — Too — too — too — too ! 
Ha ! by the way — what do you say to a razor hornpipe 
— eh? — Ha, ha, ha! a novelty at least!" He began forth- 
with to dance a few steps, leaping frantically high, and 
uttering, at intervals, a sudden, shrill, dissonant cry, re- 
sembling that used by those who dance the Highland 
" fling," or some other species of Scottish dance. I af- 
fected to admire his dancing, even to ecstasy — clapping 
my hands, and shouting, " Bravo, bravo ! — Encore !" 
He seemed inclined to go over it again, but was too much 
exhausted, and sat down panting on the window-seat, 
which was close behind him. 

" You'll catch cold, Mr M , sitting in that draught 

of air, naked, and perspiring as you are. Will you put 
on your clothes ?" said I, approaching him. 

" No !" he replied, sternly, and extended the razor 
threateningly. I fell back, of course — not knowing what 
to do, nor choosing to risk either his destruction or my 
own by attempting any active interference ; for what was 
to be done with a madman who had an open razor in 

his hand? — Mr , the apothecary, seemed to have 

been gone an age ; and I found even my temper begin- 
ning to fail me — for I was tired with his tricks, deadly 
dangerous as they were. My attention, however, was 
soon rivetted again on the motions of the maniac. " Yes 
— yes, decidedly so — I'm too hot to do it now — I am !" 
said he, wiping the perspiration from his forehead, and 
eyeing the razor intently. " I must get calm and cool 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 21 

— and then — then for the sacrifice ! Aha, the sacrifice ! 
— An offering — expiation — even as Abraham — ha, ha, 
ha ! — But, by the way, how did Abraham do it — that 
is, how did he intend to have done it ? — Ah, I must ask 
my familiar !" 

" A sacrifice, Mr M ? — Why, what do you 

mean ?" I inquired, attempting a laugh — I say, attempt- 
ing — for my blood trickled chillily through my veins, 
and my heart seemed frozen. 

" What do I mean, eh ? Wretch ! Dolt ! — What do 
I mean? — Why, 'a peace-offering to my Maker, for a 
badly-spent life, to be sure ! — One would think you had 
never heard of such a thing as religion — you savage !" 

" I deny that the sacrifice would be accepted ; and for 
two reasons," I replied, suddenly recollecting that he 
plumed himself on his casuistry, and hoping to engage 
him on some new crotchet, which might keep him in 

play till Mr returned with assistance — but I was 

mistaken ! 

" Well, well, Doctor ! — Let that be, for the pre- 
sent — I can't resolve doubts, now — no, no," he replied, 
solemnly, — " 'tis a time for action — for action — for ac- 
tion," he continued, gradually elevating his voice, using 
vehement gesticulations, and rising from his seat. 

" Yes, yes," said I, warmly ; " but though you've fol- 
lowed closely enough the advice of the Talmudist, in 
shaving off your eyebrows, as a preparatory" 

" Aha ! aha ! — What ! — have you seen the Talmud ? 
— Have you, really ! — Well," he added, after a doubtful 
pause, " in what do you think I've failed, eh ?" 

I need hardly say, that I myself scarcely knew what 
led me to utter the nonsense in question ; but I have se- 



22 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

veral times found, in cases of insanity, that suddenly and 
readily supplying a motive for the patient's conduct — 
referring it to a cause, of some sort or other, with stead- 
fast intrepidity — even be the said cause never so prepos- 
terously absurd — has been attended with the happiest 
effects, in arresting the patient's attention — chiming in 
with his eccentric fancies, and piquing his disturbed fa- 
culties into acquiescence in what he sees coolly taken for 
granted, as quite true — a thing of course — mere matter- 
of-fact — by the person he is addressing. I have several 
times recommended this little device to those who have 
been intrusted with the care of the insane, and have 
been assured of its success. 

" You are very near the mark, I own ; but it strikes 
me that you have shaved them off too equally, too uni- 
formly. You ought to have left some little ridges — fur- 
rows — hem, hem ! — to — to — terminate, or resemble the 
— the — the striped stick which Jacob held up before the 
ewes !" 

"Oh — ay — ay! Exactly — true! — Strange oversight!" 
he replied, as if struck with the truth of the remark, and 
yet puzzled by vain attempts to corroborate it by his own 
recollections — " I — I recollect it now — but it isn't too 
late yet — is it ?" 

" I think not," I replied, with apparent hesitation, 
hardly crediting the success of my strange stratagem. 
" To be sure, it will require very great delicacy ; but as 
you've not shaved them off very closely, I think I can 
manage it," I continued doubtfully. 

" Oh, oh, oh !" growled the maniac, while his eyes 
flashed fire at me. " There's one sitting by me that tells 
me you are dealing falsely with me — oh, lying villain ! 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 23 

oh, perfidious wretch !" At that moment the door open- 
ed gently behind me, and the voice of Mr , the apo- 
thecary, whispered, in a low hurried tone, " Doctor, I've 
got three of the inn-porters here, in the sitting-room." 
Though the whisper was almost inaudible even to me, 
when uttered close to my ear, to my utter amazement 

M had heard every syllable of it, and understood 

it too, as if some officious minion of Satan himself had 
quickened his ears, or conveyed the intelligence to him. 

" Ah — ha — ha ! — Ha, ha, ha ! — Fools ! knaves, har- 
pies ! — and what are you and your hired desperadoes to 
me? — Thus — thus do I outwit you — thus!" and, spring- 
ing from his seat, he suddenly drew up the lower part of 
the window-frame, and looked through it — then atthera- 
zor — and again at me, with one of the most awful glan- 
ces — full of dark diabolical meaning, the momentary sug- 
gestion, surely, of the great Tempter — that I ever en- 
countered in my life. 

" Which ! — which ! — which !" he muttered fiercely 
through his closed teeth, while his right foot rested on 
the window-seat, ready for him to spring out, and his eye 
travelled, as before, rapidly from the razor to the win- 
dow. Can any thing be conceived more palsying to the 
beholders ? " Why did not you and your strong rein- 
forcement spring at once upon him, and overpower him ?" 
possibly some one is asking. — What ! and he armed with 
a naked razor f His head might have been severed from 
his shoulders, before we could have overmastered him 
— or we might ourselves — at least one of us — have been 
murdered, or cruelly maimed, in the attempt. We knew 

not whatto do! M suddenly withdrew his head from 

the window, through which he had been gazing, with a 



24 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

shuddering, horror-stricken motion, and groaned — " No ! 

no! no! I won't — can't — for there's T standing just 

beneath, his face all blazing, and waiting with outspread 
arms to catch me," standing, at the same time, shading 
his eyes with his left hand — when I whispered, — " Now, 
now ! go up to him — secure him — all three spring on 
him at once, and disarm him !" They obeyed me, and 

were in the act of rushing into the room, when M 

suddenly planted himself into a posture of defiance, ele- 
vated the razor to his throat, and almost howled — " One 
step — one step nearer — and I — I — I — so !" motioning 
as though he would draw it from one ear to the other. 
We all fell back, horror-struck and in silence. What 
could we do ? If we moved towards him, or made use 
of any threatening gestures, we should see the floor in 
an instant deluged with his blood. I once more crossed 
my arms on my breast, with an air of mute submission. 

" Ha, ha !" he exclaimed, after a pause, evidently plea- 
sed with such a demonstration of his power, " obedient, 
however ! — well — that's one merit ! But still, what a set 
of cowards — bullies — you must all be ! — What! — all four 
of you afraid of one man ?" In the course of his frantic 
gesticulations, he had drawn the razor so close to his 
neck, that its edge had slightly grazed the skin under his 
left ear, and a little blood trickled from it over his shoul- 
ders and breast. 

" Blood! — blood? — What a strange feeling! How 
coldly it fell on my breast ! — How did I do it ? — Shall 
— I — go — on, as I have made a beginning?" he exclaim- 
ed, drawling the words at great length. He shuddered, 
and — to my unutterable joy and astonishment — delibe- 
rately closed the razor, replaced it in its case, put both 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 5J5 

in the drawer ; and having done all this, before we ven- 
tured to approach him, he fell at his full length on the 
floor, and began to yell in a manner that was perfectly 
frightful ; but in a few moments he burst into tears, and 
cried and sobbed like a child. We took him up in our 
arms, he groaning — " Oh, shorn of my strength! — shorn! 
shorn ! like Samson ! — Why part with my weapon ? — 
The Philistines be upon me !" — and laid him down on 
the bed, where, after a few moments, he fell asleep. When 
he woke again, a strait waistcoat put all his tremendous 
strugglings at defiance — though his strength seemed in- 
creased in a tenfold degree — and prevented his attempt- 
ing either his own life, or that of any one near him. 
When he found all his writhings and heavings utterly 
useless, he gnashed his teeth, the foam issued from his 
mouth, and he shouted, — " I'll be even with you, you in- 
carnate devils ! — I will ! — I'll suffocate myself!" and he 
held his breath till he grew black in the face, when he 
gave over the attempt. It was found necessary to have 
him strapped down to the bed ; and his howlings were 
so shocking and loud, that we began to think of remo- 
ving him, even in that dreadful condition, to a madhouse. 
I ordered his head to be shaved again, and kept perpe- 
tually covered with cloths soaked in evaporating lotions 
— blisters to be applied behind each ear, and at the nape 
of the neck — leeches to the temples, and the appropriate 
internal medicines in such cases — and left him, begging 
I might be sent for instantly in the event of his getting 
worse. * Oh, I shall never forget this harrowing scene ! 

* I ought to have mentioned, a little way back, that, in obedience 
to my hurried injunctions, the ladies suffered themselves, almost faint- 
ing with fright, to be conducted silently into the adjoining chambers — 



26 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

— my feelings were wound up almost to bursting ; nor 
did they recover their proper tone for many a week. I 
cannot conceive that the people whom the New Testa- 
ment speaks of as being " possessed of devils," could have 
been more dreadful in appearance, or more outrageous 
in their actions, than was M ; nor can I help sug- 
gesting the thought, that, possibly, they were in reality 
nothing more than the maniacs of the worst kind. And 
is not a man transformed into a devil, when his reason is 
utterly overturned ? 

On seeing M the next morning, I found he had 

passed a terrible night — that the constraint of the strait 
waistcoat filled him incessantly with a fury that was ab- 
solutely diabolical. His tongue was dreadfully lacerat- 
ed ; and the whites of his eyes, with perpetual straining, 
were discoloured with a reddish hue, like ferrets' eyes. 
He was truly a piteous spectacle ! One's heart ached to 
look at him, and think, for a moment, of the fearful con- 
trast he formed to the gay M he was only a few 

days before, the delight of refined society, and the idol 
of all his friends ! He lay in a most precarious state for 
a fortnight ; and though the fits of outrageous madness 
had ceased, or become much mitigated, and interrupted 
not unfrequently with "lucid intervals," as the phrase is, 
I began to be apprehensive of his sinking eventually in- 
to that hopeless, deplorable condition, idiocy. During 
one of his intervals of sanity — when the savage fiend re- 
laxed, for a moment, the hold he had taken of the vic- 
tim's faculties, M said something according with a 

and it was well they did. Suppose they had uttered any sudden shriek, 
or attempted to interfere, or made a disturbance of any kind — what 
would have become of us all ? 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 27 

fact which it was impossible for him to have any know- 
ledge of by the senses, which was to me singular and in- 
explicable.* It was about nine o'clock in the morning 
of the third day after that on which the scene above de- 
scribed took place, that M , who was lying in a state 

of the utmost lassitude and exhaustion, scarcely able to 

open his eyes, turned his head slowly towards Mr , 

the apothecary, who was sitting by his bedside, and whis- 
pering to him — " They are preparing to bury that 
wretched fellow next door — hush ! — hush ! — one of the 

coffin trestles has fallen — hush!" Mr , and the nurse, 

who had heard him, both strained their ears to listen, but 
could hear not even a mouse stirring — " there's some- 
body come in — a lady, kissing his lips before he's screw- 
ed down — Oh, I hope she won't be scorched — that's all!" 
He then turned away his head, with no appearance of 
emotion, and presently fell asleep. Through mere curio- 
sity, Mr looked at his watch ; and from subse- 
quent inquiry ascertained, that, sure enough, about the 
tim 3 when his patient had spoken, they were about bury- 
ing his neighbour ; that one of the trestles did slip a 
little aside, and the coffin, in consequence, was near fall- 
ing ; and finally, marvellous to tell, that a lady, one of 
the deceased's relatives, I believe, did come and kiss the 

corpse, and cry bitterly over it ! Neither Mr nor 

the nurse heard any noise whatever during the time of 
the burial preparations next door, for the people had 

* This incident has been selected by the conductor of a quarterly re- 
ligious journal called " The Morning Watch" — as a striking instance 
of supernatural agency — and tending to confirm certain notions which 
have lately occasioned not a little astonishment and confusion in the 
world. 



28 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

been earnestly requested to be as quiet about them as 
possible, and really made no disturbance whatever. By 
what strange means he had acquired his information — 
whether or not he was indebted for some portion of it 
to the exquisite delicacy, the morbid sensitiveness of 
the organs of hearing, I cannot' conjecture ; but how are 
we to account for the latter part of what he uttered about 
the lady's kissing the corpse, &c. ? — On another occa- 
sion, during one of his most placid moods, but not in 
any lucid interval, he insisted on my taking pen, ink, 
and paper, and turning amanuensis. To quiet him, I 
acquiesced, and wrote what he dictated ; and the manu- 
script now lies before me, and is verbatim et literatim as 
follows : — 

" I, T M , saw — what saw I ? A solemn 

silver grove — there were innumerable spirits * sleeping 
among the branches — (and it is this, though unobserv- 
ed of naturalists, that makes the aspen tree's leaves to 
quiver so much — it is this, I say, namely, the rustling 
movements of the spirits,) — and in the midst of this 
grove was a beautiful site for a statue, and one there as- 
suredly was — but what a statue ! Transparent, of a stu- 
pendous size, through which — the sky was cloudy and 
troubled — a ship was seen sinking at sea, and the crew 
at cards ; but the good spirit of the storm saved them ; 
for he shewed them the key of the universe ; and a 
shoal of sharks, with murderous eyes, were disappoint- 
ed of a meal. Lo, man, behold ! — another part of this 
statue — what a one ! — has a fissure in it — it opens — 
widens into a parlour, in darkness ; and now shall be dis- 
closed the horror of horrors, for,lo, some one sitting — sit- 

* The words in Italics were at the instance of M 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 29 

ting — easy-chair — fiery face — fiend — fiend — Oh God ! 
Oh God ! save me," cried he. He ceased speaking, with 
a shudder : nor did he resume the dictation, for he seem- 
ed in a moment to have forgotten that he had dictated 
at all. I preserved the paper ; and gibberish though it 
is, I consider it both curious and highly characteristic 
throughout. Judging from the latter part of it, where 
he speaks of a " dark parlour, with some fiery-faced fiend 
sitting in an easy-chair ;" and coupling this with various 
similar expressions and allusions which he made during 
his ravings, I felt convinced that his fancy was occupied 
with some one individual image of horror, which had 
scared him into madness, and now clung to his disorder- 
ed faculties like a fiend. He often talked about " spec- 
tres," " spectral ;" and uttered incessantly the words, 
" spectre-smitten." The nurse once asked him what 
he meant by these words ; he started — grew disturbed 
— his eye glanced with affright — and he shook his head 
exclaiming, " Horror !" A few days afterwards he hired 
an amanuensis, who, of course, was duly apprised of the 
sort of person he had to deal with ; and, after a painful- 
ly ludicrous scene, M attempting to beat down the 

man's terms from a guinea and a half a-week to half-a- 
crown, he engaged him for three guineas, he said, and 
insisted on his taking up his station at the side of the 
bed, in order that he might minute down every word 
that was uttered. M told him he was going to dic- 
tate a romance ! 

It would have required, in truth, the " pen of a ready 

writer" to keep pace with poor M 's utterance ; for 

he raved on at a prodigious rate, in a strain, it need hard- 
ly be said, of unconnected absurdities. Really it was 



30 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

inconceivable nonsense ; rhapsodical rantings in the Ma- 
turin style, full of vaults, sepulchres, spectres, devils, 
magic — with here and there a thought of real poetry. It 
was piteous to peruse it ! His amanuensis found it im- 
possible to keep up with him, and, therefore, profited by 
a hint from one of us, and, instead of writing, merely 
moved his pen rapidly over the paper, scrawling all sorts 

of ragged lines and figures to resemble writing ! M 

never asked him to read it over, nor requested to see it 
himself; but, after about fifty pages were done, dictated 
a title-page — pitched on publishers — settled the price 
and number of volumes — -four ! and then exclaimed — 
" Well ! — thank God — that's off my mind at last !" He 
never mentioned it afterwards ; and his brother commit- 
ted the whole to the flames about a week after. 

M had not, however, yet done with his amanu- 
ensis, but put his services in requisition in quite another 
capacity, — that of reader. Milton was the book he 
selected ; and actually they went through very nearly 

nine books, M perpetually interrupting him with 

comments, sometimes saying surpassingly absurd, and 
occasionally very fine, forcible things. All this formed 
a truly touching illustration of that beautiful, often quot- 
ed sentiment of Horace — 

Quo semel est imbuta recens, servabit odorem 

Testa diu. Epist. Lib. I. Ep. 2. 69. 70. 



As there was no prospect of his speedily recovering 
the use of his reasoning faculties, he was removed to a 
private asylum, where I attended him regularly for more 
than six months. He was reduced to a state of drivel- 
ling idiocy ; complete fatuity ! Lamentable ! heart-rend- 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 31 

ing ! Oh, how deplorable to see a man of superior in- 
tellect — one whose services are really wanted in society 
— the prey of madness ! 

Dr Johnson was well known to express a peculiar hor- 
ror of insanity. " Oh, God !" said he, " afflict my body 
with what tortures thou wiliest ; but spare my reason .'" 
Where is he that does not join him in uttering such a 
prayer ? 

It would be beside my purpose here to enter into ab- 
stract speculations, or purely professional details, con- 
cerning insanity; but one or two brief and simple remarks, 
the fruits of much experience and consideration, may 
perhaps be pardoned me. 

It is still a vexata qucestio in our profession, whether 
persons of strong or weak minds — whether the ignorant 
or the highly cultivated — are most frequently the subjects 
of insanity. If we are disposed to listen to a generally 
shrewd and intelligent writer, (Dr Monro, in his " Phi- 
losophy of Human Nature") we are to understand, that 
" children, and people of weak minds, are never subject 
to madness ; far," adds the Doctor, " how can he despair, 
who cannot think ?" Though the logic here is somewhat 
loose and leaky, I am disposed to agree with the Doctor 
in the main ; and I ground my acquiescence, — 

First, On the truth of Locke's distinction, laid down in 
his great work, (Book ii. c. ii. §§12 and 13,) where he 
mentions the difference " between idiots and madmen," 
and thus states the sum of his observations : — " In short, 
herein seems to lie the difference between idiots and 
madmen, that madmen put wrong ideas together, and 
do make wrong propositions, but argue and reason right 
from them ; but idiots make very few or no propositions, 
and reason scarce at all." T 



32 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

Secondly, On the corroboration afforded to it by my 
own experience. I have generally found that those per- 
sons who are most distinguished for their powers of 
thought and reasoning, when of sound mind, continue 
to exercise that power, but incorrectly, and be distin- 
guished by their exercise of that power — when of un- 
sound mind — their understanding retaining, even after 
such a shock and revolution of its faculties, the bent and 
bias impressed upon it beforehand ; and I have found, 
farther, that it has been chiefly those of such character 
— i. e. thinkers — that have fallen into madness ; and that 
it is the perpetual straining and taxing of their strong 
intellects, at the expense of their bodies, that has brought 
them into such a calamity. Suppose therefore we say, 
in short, that madness is the fate of strong minds, or at 
least minds many degrees removed from weak ; and idio- 
cy of weak, imbecile minds. This supposition, however, 
involves a sorry sort of compliment to the fair sex ; for 
it is notorious that the annual majority of those received 
into lunatic asylums, are females. 

I have found imaginative, fanciful people, the most 
liable to attacks of insanity ; and have had under my 
care four such instances, or at least very nearly resem- 
bling the one I am now relating, in which insanity has 
ensued from sudden fright. And it is easily accounted 
for. The imagination — the predominant faculty — is im- 
mediately appealed to — and, eminently lively and tena- 
cious of impressions, exerts its superior and more prac- 
tised powers, at the expense of the judgment, or reason, 
which it tramples upon and crushes. There is then no- 
thing left in the mind that may make head against this 
unnatural dominancy ; and the result is generally not un- 
like that in the present instance. As for my general 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 33 

system of treatment, it may all be comprised in a word 
or two, — acquiescence ; submission ; suggestion ; sooth- 
ing *. Had I pursued a different plan with M , 

what might have been the disastrous issue ! 

To return, however : The reader may possibly recol- 
lect seeing something like the following expression, oc- 
curring in " The Broken Heart : f" " A candle flicker- 
ing and expiring in its socket, which suddenly shoots up 
into an instantaneous brilliance, and then is utterly ex- 
tinguished." I have referred to it, merely because it 
affords a very apt illustration — apter than any that now 
suggests itself to me, of what sometimes takes place in 
madness. The roaring flame of insanity sinks into the 
sullen smouldering embers of complete fatuity, and re- 
mains so for months ; when, like that of the candle just 
alluded to, it will instantaneously gather up and concen- 
trate its expiring energies into one terrific blaze — one 
final paroxysm of outrageous mania — and lo ! it has con- 
sumed itself utterly — burnt itself out — and the patient 
is unexpectedly restored to reason. The experience of 
my medical readers, if it have lain at all in the track of 
insanity, must have presented such cases to their notice 
not unfrequently. However metaphysical ingenuity may 
set us speculating about " the why and wherefore" of it 

— the fact is undeniable. It was thus with Mr M 

He had sunk into the deplorable condition of a simple, 
harmless, melancholy idiot, and was released from for- 
mal constraint : but suddenly, one morning, while at 
breakfast, hesprang upon the person who always attended 
him ; and, had not the man been very muscular, and prac- 

* See the case " Intriguing and Madness," Vol. I. p. 128. 
f Vol. I. p. 141. 
VOL. II. C 



34 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

tised in such matters, he musthave been soon overpower- 
ed, and perhaps murdered. A long and deadly wrestle 
took place between them. Thrice they threw each other ; 
and the keeper saw that the madman several times cast 
a longing eye towards a knife which lay on the break- 
fast table, and endeavoured to sway his antagonist so as 
to get himself within its reach. Both were getting ex- 
hausted with the prolonged struggle — and the keeper, 
really afraid for his life, determined to settle matters as 
soon as possible. The instant, therefore, that he could 
get his right arm disengaged, he hit poor M a dread- 
ful blow on the side of the head, which felled him, and 
he lay senseless on the floor, the blood pouring fast from 
his ears, nose, and mouth. He was again confined in a 
strait waistcoat, and conveyed to bed — when, what with 
exhaustion, and the effect of the medicines which had 
been administered, he fell into profound sleep, which 
continued all day, and, with little intermission, through 
the night. When he awoke in the morning, lo ! he was 
" in his right mind !" His calm tranquillized features, 
and the sobered expression of his eyes, showed that the 
sun of reason had really once more dawned upon his 
long benighted faculties. Ay — he was 



himself again. 



I heard of the good news before I saw him, and, on has- 
tening to his room, found it was indeed so — his altered 
appearance at first sight amply corroborated it ! How 
different the mild sad smile, now beaming on his pallid 
features, from the vacant stare — the unmeaning laugh of 
idiocy — or the fiendish glare of madness ! — The con- 
trast was strong as that between the soft, stealing expan- 

1 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 35 

sive twilight, and the burning blaze of noonday. He 
spoke in a very feeble, almost inarticulate, voice, com- 
plained of dreadful exhaustion — whispered something in- 
distinctly about " waking from a long and dreary dream ;" 
and said that he felt, as it were, only half awake — or 
alive. All was new — strange — startling! Fearful of 
taxing too much his new-born powers, I feigned an ex- 
cuse, and took my leave, recommended him cooling and 
quieting medicines, and perfect seclusion from visitors. 
How exhilarated I felt my own spirits all that day ! 

He gradually, very gradually, but surely recovered. 
One of the earliest indications of his reviving interest in 
life, 

And all its busy, thronging scenes, 

was an abrupt inquiry whether Trinity term had com- 
menced, and whether or not he was now eligible to be 
called to the bar. He was utterly unconscious that three 
terms had flitted over him, while he lay in the gloomy 
wilderness of insanity ; and when I satisfied him of this 
fact, he alluded, with a sigh, to the beautiful thought of 
one of our old dramatists, who, illustrating the uncon- 
scious lapse of years over " Endymion," makes one tell 
him, — 

And behold, the twig to which thou laidest thy head, is now be- 
come a tree !* 

It was not till several days after his restoration to 
reason, that I ventured to enter into any thing like de- 

* Endymion, by John Lyly. The context is so very beautiful, 
that I am tempted to quote it : — 

Cynthia. Endymion! Speak, sweet Endymion! Knowestthou not 
Cynthia ? 



36 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

tailed conversation with him, or to make particular al- 
lusions to his late illness ; and on this occasion it was 
that he related to me his rencontre with the fearful object 
which had overturned his reason ; adding, with intense 
emotion, that not ten thousand a-year should induce him 
to live in the same chambers any more. 

During the course of his progress towards complete 
recovery, memory shot its strengthening rays farther 
and farther back into the inspissated gloom in which the 
long interval of insanity had shrouded his mind : but it 

Endymion. Oh, Heaven! what do I behold? Fair Cynthia? 
Divine Cynthia? 

Cynthia. I am Cynthia, and thou Endymion. 

Endymion . Endymion ! What do I hear ? What ! a grey beard, 
hollow eyes, withered body, and decayed limbs — and all in one night ? 

Eumenides. One night ? Thou hast slept here forty years, by 
what enchantress, as yet it is not known : and behold, the twig to 
which thou laidest thy head, is now become a tree ! Callest thou not 
Eumenides to remembrance ? 

Endymion. Thy name I do remember by the sound, but thy fa- 
vour I do not yet call to mind : only, divine Cynthia, to whom time, 
fortune, death, and destiny are subject, I see and remember : and, in 
all humility, I regard and reverence. 

Cynthia. You shall have good cause to remember Eumenides, 
who hath, for thy safety, forsaken his own solace. 

Endymion. Am I that Endymion, who was wont in court to lead 
my life, and in justs, tourneys, and arms to exercise my youth ? Am 
I that Endymion ? 

Eumenides. Thou art that Endymion, and I Eumenides ! Wilt 
thou not yet call me to remembrance ? 

Endymion. Ah, sweet Eumenides ! I now perceive thou art he, 
and that myself have the name of Endymion ; but that this should be 
my body, I doubt ; for how could my curled locks be turned to grey 
hair, and my strong body to a dying weakness — having waxed old not 
knowing it ? 

Act bth Scene I. 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 37 

was too dense — too " palpable an obscure" — to be ever 
completely and thoroughly illuminated. The rays of re- 
collection, however, settled distinctly on some of the 
more prominent points ; and I was several times asto- 
nished by his sudden reference to things which he had 
said and done during the " very depth and quagmire of 
his disorder *." He asked me, once, for instance, whe- 
ther he had not made an attempt on his life, and with a 
razor, and how it was that he did not succeed. He had 
no recollection, however, of the long and deadly strug- 
gle with his keeper — at least he never made the slight- 
est allusion to it, nor, of course, did any one else. 

" I don't much mind talking these horrid things over 
with you, Doctor, for you know all the ins mid outs of 
the whole affair ; but if any of my friends or relatives 
presume to torture me with any allusions or inquiries of 
this sort — I'll fight them ! they'll drive me mad again !" 
The reader may suppose the hint was not disregarded. 
All recovered maniacs have a dread — an absolute hor- 
ror — of any reference being made to their madness, or 
any thing they have said or done during the course of 
it ; and is it not easily accounted for ? 

" Did the horrible spectre which occasioned your ill- 
ness in the first instance, ever present itself to you af- 
terwards ?" I once inquired. He paused and turned 
pale. Presently he replied, with considerable agitation, 
— " Yes, yes — it scarcely ever left me. It has not al- 
ways preserved its spectral consistency, but has entered 
into the most astounding — the most preposterous com- 
binations conceivable, with other objects and scenes — 
all of them, however, more or less, of a distressing or 
* Sir Thomas Brown. 



38 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

fearful character — many of them terrific !" I begged 
him, if it were not unpleasant to him, to give me a spe- 
cimen of them. 

" It is certainly far from gratifying to trace scenes of 
such shame and horror ; but I will comply as far as I 
am able," said he, rather gloomily. " Once I saw him," 
(meaning the spectre) " leading on an army of huge 
speckled and crested serpents against me ; and when 
they came upon me — for I had no power to run away 
— I suddenly found myself in the midst of a pool of 
stagnant water, absolutely alive with slimy, shapeless 
reptiles ; and while endeavouring to make my way out, 
he rose to the surface, his face hissing in the water, and 
blazing bright as ever ! Again, I thought I saw him in 
single combat, by the gates of Eden, with Satan — and 
the air thronged and heated with swart faces looking 
on !" This was unquestionably some dim confused re- 
collection of the Milton readings, in the earlier part of 
his illness. " Again, I thought I was in the act of open- 
ing my snuff-box, when he issued from it, diminutive, 
at first, in size — but swelling, soon, into gigantic pro- 
portions, and his fiery features diffusing a light and heat 
around, that absolutely scorched and blasted ! At an- 
other time, I thought I was gazing upwards on a sultry 
summer sky ; and, in the midst of a luminous fissure in 
it, made by the lightning, I distinguished his accursed 
figure, with his glowing features wearing an expression 
of horror, and his limbs outstretched, as if he had been 
hurled down from some height or other, and was falling 

through the sky towards one. He came — he came 

flung himself into my recoiling arms — and clung to me 
— burning, scorching, withering my soul within me ! I 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 39 

thought farther, that I was all the while the subject of 
strange, paradoxical, contradictory feelings towards him, 
— that I at one and the same time loved and loathed, 
feared and despised him * !" He mentioned several other 
instances of the confusions in his " chamber of imagery." 
I told him of his sudden exclamation concerning Mr 

T 's burial, and its singular corroboration ; but he 

either did not, or affected not, to recollect any thing 
about it. He told me he had a full and distinct recol- 
lection of being for a long time possessed with the no- 
tion of making himself a " sacrifice" of some sort or 
other, and that he was seduced or goaded on to do so, 
by the spectre, by the most dazzling temptations, and 
under the most appalling threats, — one of which latter 
was, that God would plunge him into hell for ever, if 
he did not offer up himself, — that if he did so, he should 
be a sublime spectacle to the universe," &c. &c. &c. 

" Do you recollect any thing about dictating a novel 
or a romance ?" He started, as if struck with some sud- 
den recollection. " No — but I'll tell you what I recol- 
lect well — that the spectre and I were set to copy all 
the tales and romances that ever had been written, in a 
large, bold, round hand, and then translate them into 
Greek or Latin verse !" He smiled, nay even laughed 
at the thought, almost the first time of his giving way 
to such emotions since his recovery. He added, that, 
as to the latter, the idea of the utter hopelessness of ever 
getting through such a stupendous undertaking never 
once presented itself to him, and that he should have 
gone on with it, but that he lost his inkstand ! 

* A very curious case has been handed to me, corroboratory of this 
strange condition of feeling, but I am not allowed to make it public. 



40 THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 

" Had you ever a clear and distinct idea that you 
had lost the right use of reason ?" 

" Why, about that, to tell the truth, I've been puzzling 
myself a good deal, and yet I cannot say any thing de- 
cisive. I do fancy that at times I had short, transient 
glimpses into the real state of things, but they were so 
evanescent. I am conscious of feeling at these times 
incessant fury, arising from a sense of personal constraint, 
and I longed once to strangle some one who was giving 
me medicine." 

But one of the most singular of all is yet to come. 
He still persisted — yes, then — after his complete reco- 
very, as we supposed, in avowing his belief that we had 
hired a huge boa serpent from Exeter Change, to come 
and keep constant watch over him, to constrain his move- 
ments when he threatened to become violent ; that it 
lay constantly coiled up under his bed for that purpose ; 
that he could now and then feel the motions— the writh- 
ing undulating motions, of its coils — hear it utter a sort 
of sigh, and see it often elevate its head over the bed, 
and play with its slippery, delicate forked tongue over 

his face, to soothe him to sleep. When poor M , 

with a serious, earnest air, assured me he still believed 
all this, my hopes of his complete and final restoration 
to sanity were dashed at once ! How such an absurd — 
in short, I have no terms in which I may adequately 
characterise it — how, I say, such an idea could possibly 
be persisted in, I was bewildered in attempting to con- 
ceive. I frequently strove to reason him out of it, but 
in vain. To no purpose did I burlesque and caricature 
the notion almost beyond all bounds ; it was useless to 
remind him of the blank impossibility of it ; he regard- 



THE SPECTRE-SMITTEN. 4 1 

ed me with such a face as I should exhibit to a fluent 
personage, quite in earnest in demonstrating to me that 
the moon was made of green cheese. 

I have once before heard of a patient who, after re- 
covering from an attack of insanity, retained one soli- 
tary crotchet — one little stain or speck of lunacy — about 
which, and which alone, he was mad to the end of his 
life. I supposed such to be the case with M — ■ — It 
was possible — barely so, I thought — that he might en- 
tertain his preposterous notion about the boa, and yet 
be sound in the general texture of his mind. I prayed 
God it might ; I " hoped against hope." The last even- 
ing I ever spent with him, Avas occupied with my endea- 
vouring, once for all, to disabuse him of the idea'in ques- 
tion ; and, in the course of our conversation, he disclosed 
one or two other little symptoms — specks of lunacy — 
which made me leave him, filled w r ith disheartening 
doubts as to the probability of a permanent recovery. 
****** 

My worst fears were awfully realized. In about five 

years from the period above alluded to, M , who had 

got married, and had enjoyed excellent general health, 
was spending the summer with his family at Brussels — 
and one night destroyed himself — alas ! alas ! destroyed 
himself in a manner too terrible to mention ! 



( 42 ) 



CHAPTER II. 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 



It has been my lot to witness many dreadful death- 
beds. I am not overstating the truth when I assert, that 
nearly eight out of every ten that have come under my 
personal observation — of course, excluding children — 
have more or less partaken of this character. I know 
only one way of accounting for it, and some may accuse 
me of cant for adverting to it, — men will not live as if 
they were to die. They are content to let that event 
come upon them " like a thief in the night."* They 
grapple with their final foe, not merely unprepared, but 
absolutely incapacitated for the struggle, and then won- 
der and wail at their being overcome and " trodden 
under foot." I have, in some of the foregoing chap- 
ters, attempted to sketch three or four dreary scenes of 
this description, my pencil trembling in my hand the 
while ; and could I but command colours dark enough, 

* One of my patients, whom a long course of profligacy had brought 
to a painful and premature death-bed, once quoted this striking Scrip- 
tural expression when within less than an hour of his end, and with a 
thrill of terror. 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 43 

it were yet in my power to portray others far more ap- 
palling than any that have gone before — cases of those 
who have left life " clad in horror's hideous robe," — 
" whose sun has gone down at noon in darkness," if I 
may be pardoned for quoting the fearful language of a 
very unfashionable book. 

Now, however, for a while at least, let the storm pass 
away ; the accumulated clouds of guilt, despair, mad- 
ness, disperse ; and the lightning of the fiercer passions 
cease to shed its disastrous glare over our minds. Let 
us rejoice beneath the serened heavens ; let us seek sun- 
nier spots — by turning to the more peaceful pages of hu- 
manity. Let me attempt to lay before the reader a short 
account of one whose exit was eminently calm, tranquil, 
and dignified ; who did not skulk into his grave with 
shame and fear, but laid down life with honour : leaving 
behind him the influence of his greatness and goodness, 
like the evening sun — who smiles sadly on the sweet 
scenes he is quitting, and a holy lustre glows long on the 
features of nature — 

Quiet, as a nun 
Breathless with adoration Wordsworth. 



Even were I disposed, I could not gratify the reader 
with any thing like a fair sketch of the early days of Mr 

E I have often lamented, that, knowing as I did 

the simplicity and frankness of his disposition, I did not 
once avail myself of several opportunities which fell in 
my way of becoming acquainted with the leading parti- 
culars of his life. Now, however, as is generally the case, 



44 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

I can but deplore my negligence, when remedying it is 
impossible. All that I have now in my power to record, 
are some particulars of his latter days. Interesting I 
know they will be considered : may they prove instruc- 
tive ! I hope the few records I have here preserved, will 
shew how a mind long disciplined by philosophy, and 
strengthened by religious principle, may triumph over the 
assault of evils and misfortunes combined against its ex- 
piring energies. It is fitting, I say, the world should hear 

how nobly E surmounted such a sudden influx of 

disasters as have seldom before burst overwhelmingly 
upon a deathbed. 

And should this chapter of my Diary chance to be seen 
by any of his relatives and early friends, I hope the re- 
ception it shall meet with from the public may stimulate 
them to give the world some fuller particulars of Mr 
E 's valuable, if not very varied life. More than se- 
ven years have elapsed since his death ; and, as yet, the 
only intimation the public has had of the event, has been 
in the dreary corner of the public prints allotted to 
" Deaths" — and a brief enumeration in one of the quar- 
terly journals of some of his leading contributions to sci- 
ence. The world at large, however, scarcely know that 
he ever lived — or, at least, how he lived or died. — But 
how often is such the fate of modest merit ! 

My first acquaintance with Mr E commenced ac- 
cidentally, not long before his death, at one of the even- 
ing meetings of a learned society, of which we were both 
members. The first glimpse I caught of him interested 
me much, and inspired me with a kind of reverence for 
him. He came into the room within a few minutes of 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 45 

the chair's being taken *, and walked quietly and slow- 
ly, with a kind of stooping gait, to one of the benches 
near the fire-place, where he sat down without taking oh" 
his great-coat, and, crossing his gloved hands on the 
knob of a high walking-stick, he rested his chin on them, 
and in that attitude continued throughout the evening. 
He removed his hat when the chairman made his ap- 
pearance ; and I never saw a finer head in my life. The 
crown was quite bald, but the base was fringed round, as 
it were, with a little soft, glossy, silver-hued hair, which, 
in the distance, looked like a faint halo. His forehead 
was of noble proportions ; and, in short, there w r as an ex- 
pression of serene intelligence in his features, blended 
with meekness and dignity, which quite enchanted me. 

" Pray, who is that gentleman ?" I inquired of my 

friend Dr D -, who was sitting beside me. " Do you 

mean that elderly thin man sitting near the fire-place, with 

a great-coat on ?" — " The same." — " Oh, it is Mr E , 

one of the very ablest men in the room, though he talks 
the least," whispered my friend ; " and a man who comes 
the nearest to my beau ideal of a philosopher of any man 
I ever knew or heard of in the present day." 

" Why, he does not seem very well known here," said 
I, observing that he neither spoke to, nor was spoken to, 

by any of the members present. " Ah, poor Mr E 

is breaking up, I'm afraid, and that very fast," replied 
my friend with a sigh. '" He comes but seldom to our 
evening meetings, and is not ambitious of making many 
acquaintance." I intimated an eager desire to be intro- 

* " Les societes savantes en Angleterre sont regies paries memew 
lois d'etiquette que les societes politiques." — Nate by the French Trans- 
lator. 



46 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

duced to him. " Oh, nothing easier," replied my friend, 
" for I know him more familiarly than any one present, 
and he is, besides, simple as a child in his manners, even 
to eccentricity, and the most amiable man in the world. 
I'll introduce you when the meeting's over." While we 
were thus whispering together, the subject of our con- 
versation suddenly rose from his seat, and, with a little 
trepidation of manner, addressed a few words to the 
chair in correction of some assertions which he inter- 
rupted a member in advancing. It was something, if I 
recollect right, about the atomic theory, and was recei- 
ved with marked deference by the president, and gene- 
ral " Hear ! hears !" from the members. He then resum- 
ed his seat, in which he was presently followed by the 
speaker, whom he had evidently discomfited ; his eyes 
glistened, and his cheeks were flushed with the effort he 
had made, and he did not rise again till the conclusion 
of the sitting. We then made our way to him, and my 
friend introduced me. He received me politely and 
frankly. He complained, in a weak voice, that the walk 
thither had quite exhausted him — that he feared his 
health was failing him, &c. 

" Why, Mr E , you look very well," said my 

friend. 

" Ay, perhaps I do ; but you know how little faith is 
to be put in the hale looks of an old and weak man. Age 
generally puts a good face on bad matters even to the 
last," he added, with a smile and a shake of the head. 

" A sad night!" he exclaimed, on hearing the wind 
howling drearily without, for we were standing by a win- 
dow at the north-east corner of the large building ; and 
a March wind swept cruelly by, telling bitter things to 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 47 

the old and feeble who had to face it. " Allow me to 
recommend that you wrap up your neck and breast well," 
said I. 

" I intend it, indeed," he replied, as he was folding 
up a large silk handkerchief. " One must guard one's 
candle with one's hand, or Death will blow it out in a 
moment. That's the sort of treatment we old people get 
from him ; no ceremony — he waits for one at a bleak 
corner, and puffs out one's expiring light with a breath; 
and then hastens on to the more vigorous torch of 
youth." 

" Have you a coach ?" inquired Dr D " A 

coach ! I shall walk it in less than twenty minutes," said 
Mr E , buttoning his coat up to the chin. 

" Allow me to offer you both a seat in mine," said I ; 
" it is at the door, and I am driving towards your neigh- 
bourhood." He and Dr D accepted the offer, and 

in a few minutes' time we entered and drove off. We 
soon set down the latter, who lived close by ; and then 
my new philosophical friend and I were left together. 
Our conversation turned, for a while, on the evening's 
discussion at the society ; and, in a very few words, re- 
markably well chosen, he pointed out what he considered 

to have been errors committed by Sir — and Dr , 

the principal speakers. I was not more charmed by the 
lucidness of his views, than by the unaffected diffidence 
with which they were expressed. 

" Well," said he, after a little pause in our conversa- 
tion, " your carriage motion is mighty pleasant ! It se- 
duces one into a feeling of indolence ! These delicious, 
soft, yielding cushioned backs and seats, — they would 
make a man loath to use his legs again ! Yet I never 



48 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

kept a carriage in my life, though I have often wanted 
one, and could easily have afforded it once." I asked 
him why ? He replied, " It was not because he feared 
childish accusations of ostentation, nor yet in order to 
save money, but because he thought it becoming to a 
rational being to be content with the natural means God 
has given him, both as to matter of necessity and plea- 
sure. It was an insult," he said, " to Nature, while she 
was in full vigour, and had exhibited little or no deficiency 
in her functions— to hurry to Art. For my own part," 
he continued, " I have always found a quiet but exqui- 
site satisfaction, in continuing independent of her assist- 
ance, though at the cost of some occasional inconveni- 
ence : it gives you a consciousness of relying incessantly 
on Him who made you, and sustains you in being. Do 
you recollect the solemn saying of Johnson to Garrick, 
on seeing the immense levies the latter had made on the 
resources of ostentatious, ornamental art? 'Davie, Davie, 
these are the things that make a deathbed terrible !' " I 
said something about Diogenes. " Ah," he replied quick- 
ly, " the other extreme. He accused nature of super- 
fluity, redundancy. A proper subordination of externals 
to her use, is part of her province ; else why is she placed 
among so many materials, and with such facilities of using 
them ? My principle, if such it may be called, is, that 
art may minister to nature, but not pamper or surfeit her 
with superfluities." 

" You would laugh, perhaps, to come to my house, 
and see the extent to which I have carried my princi- 
ples into practice. I, yes, I, whose life has been devo- 
ted, among other things, to the discovery of mechanical 
contrivances ! You, accustomed, perhaps, to the ele- 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 49 

gant redundancies of these times, may consider my house 
and furniture absurdly plain and naked — a tree stripped 
of its leaves, where the birds are left to lodge on the bare 
branches ! But I want little, and do not ' want that little 
long.' — Stop, however, here is my house ! Come — a 
laugh, you know, is good before bed — will you have it 
now ? Come, see a curiosity — a Diogenes, but no Cy- 
nic !" Had the reader seen tl.e modesty, the cheerful- 
ness, the calmness of manner, with which Mr E , 

from time to time, joined in the conversation, of which 
the above is the substance, and been aware of the weight 
due to his sentiments, as those of one who had really 
lived up to them all his life, — who had earned a noble 
character in the philosophical world — if he be aware how 
often old age and pedantry, grounded on a small repu- 
tation, are blended in repulsive union ; he might not 
consider the trouble I have taken, thrown away, in re- 
cording this my first conversation with Mr E . He 

was, indeed, an instance of " philosophy teaching by ex- 
ample ;" a sort of character to be sought out for in life, 
as one at whose feet we may safely sit down and learn. 
I could not accept of Mr E 's invitation that even- 
ing, as I had a patient to see a little farther on : but I 
promised him an early call. All my way home my mind 

was filled with the image of E , and partook of the 

tranquillity and pensiveness of its guest. 

I scarcely know how it was, but, with all my admira- 
tion of Mr E , I suffered the month of May to ap- 
proach its close before I again encountered him. It was 
partly owing to a sudden increase of business, created 
by a raging scarlet fever — and partly occasioned by ill- 
ness in my own family. I often thought and talked, 
however, of the philosopher, for that was the name- he 



50 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

went by with Dr D and myself. Mr E had 

invited us both to take " an old-fashioned friendly cup 
of tea" with him ; and accordingly, about six o'clock, 
we found ourselves driving down to his house. On our 
way, Dr D told me, that our friend had been a wi- 
dower nearly five years ; and that the loss, somewhat 
sudden, of his amiable and accomplished wife, had work- 
ed a great change in him, by divesting him of nearly 
all interest in life or its concerns. He pursued even his 
philosophical occupations with languor — more from a 
kind of habit than inclination. Still he retained the same 
evenness and cheerfulness which had distinguished him 
through life. But the blow had been struck which had 
severed him from the world's joys and engagements. He 
might be compared to a great tree torn up by the root, 
and laid prostrate by a storm, yet which dies not all at 
once. The sap is not instantaneously dried up ; but for 
weeks, or even months, you may see the smaller branches 
still shooting unconsciously into short-lived existence, all 
fresh and tender from the womb of their dead mother ; 
and a rich green mantle of leaves long concealing from 
view the poor fallen trunk beneath. Such was the pen- 
sive turn my thoughts had taken by the time we had 
reached Mr E 's door. 

It was a fine summer evening — the hour of calm ex- 
citement. The old-fashioned window panes of the house 
we had stopped at, shone like small sheets of fire in the 
steady slanting rays of the retiring sun. It was the first 
house of a very respectable antique-looking row, in the 
suburbs of London, which had been built in the days of 
Henry the Eighth. Three stately poplars stood sentries 
before the gateway. 

" Well, here we are at last, at Plato's Porch, as I've 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

christened it," said Dr D , knocking at the door. On 

entering the parlour, a large old-fashioned room, furnish- 
ed with the utmost simplicity, consistent with comfort, 

we found Mr E sitting near the window, reading. 

He was in a brown dressing-gown, and study cap. He 
rose and welcomed us cheerfully. " I have been looking 
into La Place," said he, in the first pause which ensued, 
" and a little before your arrival, had flattered myself that 
I had detected some erroneous calculations ; and only 
look at the quantity of evidence that was necessary to 
convince me that I was a simpleton by the side of La 
Place !" pointing to two or three sheets of paper crammed 
with small algebraical characters in pencil — a fearful 
array of symbols— " */ 3 « 2 , fj fj + 9 — » = J*; 

n X log. e" — and sines, co-sines, series, &c. without end. 
I had the curiosity to take up the volume in question, 

while he was speaking to Dr D •, and noticed on the 

fly-leaf the complimentary autograph of the Marquis La 

Place, who had sent his work to Mr E . Tea was 

presently brought in; and as soon as the plain old-fashion- 
ed china, &c. had been placed on the table by the man- 
servant, himself a knowing old fellow as I ever saw in 

my life, Miss E , the philosopher's niece, made her 

appearance, — an elegant unaffected girl, with the same 
style of features as her uncle. 

" I can give a shrewd guess at your thoughts, Dr 

," said Mr E , smiling, as he caught my eye 

following the movements of the man-servant till he left 
the room. " You fancy my keeping a man-servant to 
wait at table does not tally very well with what I said 
the last time I had the pleasure of seeing you." 

" O dear ! I'm sure you're mistaken, Mr E- I 

4 



52 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

was struck with the singularity of his countenance and 
manners, — those of a stanch old family servant." 

" Ah, Joseph is a vast favourite with my uncle," said 

Miss E , " I can assure you, and fancies himself 

nearly as great a man as his master." 

" Why, as far as the pratique of the laboratory is con- 
cerned, I doubt if his superior is to be found in London. 
He knows it, and all my ways, as well as he knows the 
palm of his own hand ! He has the neatest way in the 
world of making hydrogen gas, and, what is more, found 

it out himself," said Mr E , explaining the process ; 

" and then he is a miracle of cleanliness and care ! he 
has not cost me ten shillings in breakage since I knew 
him. He moves among my brittle wares like a cat on 
a glass wall." 

" And then he writes and reads for my uncle — does 
all the minor work of the laboratory — goes on errands 
— waits at table — in short, he's invaluable," said Miss 
E 

" Quite a, factotum, I protest !" exclaimed Dr D ~. 

" You'd lose your better half, then, if he were to die, 
I suppose," said I quickly. 

" No ! that can happen but once" replied Mr E , 

alluding to the death of his wife. Conversation flagged 

for a moment. " You've forgotten," at length said E , 

breaking the melancholy pause, " the very chiefest of 
poor Joseph's accomplishments — What an admirable 
unwearied nurse he is to me !" At that moment Joseph 
entered the room, with a note in his hand, which he gave 
to Mr E I guessed where it came from — for hap- 
pening a few moments before to cast my eye to the win- 
dow, I saw a footman walking up to the door ; and there 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. Od 

was no mistaking the gorgeous scarlet liveries of the 

Duke of . E , after glancing over the letter, 

begged us to excuse him for a minute or two, as the man 
was waiting for an answer. 

" You, of course, knew what my uncle alluded to," 

said Miss E , addressing Dr D in a low tone, 

as soon as E had closed the door after him, "when 

he spoke of Joseph's being a nurse — don't you ?" Dr 
D nodded. " My poor uncle," she continued, ad- 
dressing me, " has been for nearly twenty-five years af- 
flicted with a dreadful disease in the spine ; and during 
all that time he has suffered a perfect martyrdom from it. 
He could not stand straight up, if it were to save his life ; 
and he is obliged to sleep in a bed of a very curious de- 
scription,— the joint contrivance of himself and Joseph. 
He takes nearly half an ounce of laudanum every night, 
at bedtime ; without which, the pains, which are always 
most excruciating at night-time, would not suffer him 
to get a moment's sleep ! — Oh, how often have I seen 
him rolling about on this carpet and hearth-rug — yes, 
even in the presence of visitors — in a perfect ecstasy of 
agony, and uttering the most heart-breaking groans !" 

" And I can add," said Dr D , " that he is the 

most perfect Job — the most angelic sufferer, I ever saw !" 

" Indeed, indeed, he is," rejoined Miss E , with 

emotion. " I can say, with perfect truth, that I never 
once heard him murmur or complain at his hard fate. 
When I have been expressing my sympathies, during 
the extremity of his anguish, he has gasped, " Well, well, 

it might have been worse!" — Miss E suddenly raised 

her handkerchief to her eyes, for they were overflowing. 

" Do you see that beautiful little picture hanging over 



.34 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

the mantelpiece ?" she inquired, after a pause, which 

neither Dr D nor I seemed inclined to interrupt — 

pointing to an exquisite oil-painting of the crucifixion. 
" I have seen my poor uncle lying down on the floor, 
while in the most violent paroxysms of pain, and with 
his eyes fixed intensely on that picture, exclaim, ' Thine 
were greater — thine were greater !' And then he has 
presently clasped his hands upwards ; a smile has beamed 
upon his pallid quivering features, and he has told me 
the pain was abated." 

" I once was present during one of these painfully in- 
teresting scenes," said Dr D , " and have seen such 

a heavenly radiance on his countenance, as could not 
have been occasioned by the mere sudden cessation of 
the anguish he had been suffering." 

" Does not this strange disorder abate with his in- 
creasing years ?" I inquired. 

" Alas, no !" replied Miss E , " but is, if possible, 

more frequent and severe in its seizures. Indeed, we 
all think it is wearing him out fast. But for the un- 
wearied services of that faithful creature, Joseph, who 
sleeps in the same room with him, my uncle must have 
died long ago." 

" How did this terrible disorder attack Mr E , 

and when ?" I inquired. I was informed that he him- 
self originated the complaint with an injury he sustained 
when a very youg man : he was riding, one day, on 
horseback, and his horse, suddenly rearing backward, 

Mr E 's back came in violent .contact with a plank, 

projecting from behind a cart loaded with timber. He 
was besides, however, subject to a constitutional feeble- 
ness in the spine, derived from his father and grandfather. 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 55 

He had consulted almost every surgeon of eminence in 
England, and a few on the Continent ; and spent a little 
fortune among them — but all had been in vain ! 

" Really, you will be quite surprised, Doctor ," 

said Miss E , ". to know, that though such a martyr 

to pain, and now in his sixty-fourth year, my uncle is 
more active in his habits, and regular in his hours, than 
I ever knew any one. He rises almost invariably at 
four o'clock in summer, and at six in winter, — and this, 
though so helpless, that without Joseph's assistance, he 
could not dress himself" 

" Ah ! by the way," interrupted Dr D , " that is 

another peculiarity in Mr E 's case ; he is subject to 

a sort of nightly paralysis of the upper extremities, from 
which he does not completely recover, till he has been 
up for some two or three hours. 

How little had I thought of the under current of agony, 
flowing incessantly beneath the calm surface of his cheer- 
ful and dignified demeanour ! O philosophy! — O Chris- 
tian philosophy ! — I had failed to detect any marks of 
suffering in his features, though I had now had two in- 
terviews with him — so completely, even hitherto, had 
" his unconquerable mind conquered the clay" — as one 
of our old writers expresses it. If I had admired and 

respected him heretofore, on the ground of Dr D 's 

opinion — how did I now feel disposed to adore him ! I 
looked on him as an instance of long-tried heroism and 
fortitude, almost unparalleled in the history of man. 
Such thoughts were passing through my mind, when Mr 

E re-entered the room. What I had heard during 

his absence, made me now look on him with tenfold in- 
terest. I wondered that I had overlooked his stoop — 



56 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

and the permanent print of pain on his pallid cheek. I 
gazed at him, in short, with feelings of sympathy and re- 
verence, akin to those called forth by a picture of one 
of the ancient martyrs. 

" I'm sorry to have been deprived of your company 
so long," said he ; " but I have had to answer an invita- 
tion, and several questions besides, from 1 daresay 

you know whom ?" addressing Dr D 

" I can guess, on the principle ex ungue the gaudy 

livery, ' vaunts of royalty' — eh ? Is it ?" 

" Yes. He has invited me to dine with Lord , 

Sir , and several other members of the Society, 

at , this day week, but I have declined. At my 

time of life I can't stand late hours and excitement. Be- 
sides, one must learn betimes to wean, from the world, 
or be suddenly snatched from it, screaming like a child," 
said Mr E , with an impressive air. 

" I believe you are particularly intimate with ; 

at least I have heard so. Are you ?" inquired Dr D 

" No. I might possibly have been so, for — — has 
shewn great consideration towards me ; but I can assure 
you, I am the sought, rather than the seeker, and have 
been all my life." 

" It is often fatal to philosophical independence to 
approach too frequently, and too nearly, the magic circle 
of the court," said I. 

" True. Science is, and should be, aspiring. So is 
the eagle ; but the royal bird never approaches so near 

the sun, as to be drowned in its blaze. Q, has been 

nothing since he became a courtier." * * * 

" What do you think of 's pretensions to science, 

generally, and his motives for seeking so anxiously the 
intimacy of the learned ?" inquired Dr D — 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 57 

" Why, •" replied E , with some hesitation ; 

" 'tis a wonderful thing for him to know even a fiftieth 
part of what he does. He is popularly acquainted with 
the outlines of most of the leading sciences. He went 
through a regular course of readings with my admirable 

friend : but he has not the time necessary to ensure 

a successful prosecution of science. It is, however, in- 
finitely advantageous to science and literature, to have 
the willing and active patronage of royalty. I never 
knew him exhibit one trait of overbearing dogmatism ; 
and that is saying much for one whom all flatter always. 
It has struck me, however, that he has rather too anxious 
an eye towards securing the character and applause of a 

M^JCENAS." 

" Pray, Mr E , do you recollect mentioning to me 

an incident which occurred at a large dinner party given 

by , where you were present, when Dr made 

use of these words to : ' Does not your think 

it possible for a man to pelt another with potatoes, to pro- 
voke him to fling peaches in return, for want of other 
missiles ? — and the furious answer was ." 

" We will drop that subject, if you please," said E 

coldly, at the same time colouring, and giving my friend 
a peculiar monitory look. 

" I know well, personally, that has done very 

many noble things in his day — most of them, compara- 
tively, in secret ; and one magnificent action he has per- 
formed lately towards a man of scientific eminence, who 
has been as unfortunate as he is deserving, which will 

probably never come to the public ear, unless and 

die suddenly," said Mr E .. He had scarce- 
ly uttered these words, when he turned suddenly pale, 



58 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

laid down his tea-cup with a quivering hand, and slip- 
ped slowly from his chair to the floor, where he lay at 
his full length, rolling to and fro, with his hands press- 
ed upon the lower part of his spine — and all the while 
uttering deep sighs and groans. The big drops of per- 
spiration, rolling from his forehead down his cheeks, evi- 
denced the dreadful agony he was enduring. Dr D 

and I both knelt down on one knee by his side, proffer- 
ing our assistance ; but he entreated us to leave him to 
himself for a few moments, and he should soon be better. 

" Emma !" he gasped, calling his niece — who, sobbing 
bitterly, was at his side in a moment — " kiss me— that's 
a dear girl — and go up to bed — but, on your way, send 
Joseph here directly." She retired, and in a few mo- 
ments Joseph entered hastily, with a broacl leathern band, 
which he drew round his master's waist and buckled 
tightly. He then pressed with both his hands for some 
time upon the immediate seat of the pain. Our situa- 
tion was embarrassing and distressing — both of us medi- 
cal men, and yet compelled to stand by, mere passive 
spectators of agonies we could neither alleviate nor re- 
move. 

" Do you absolutely despair of discovering what the 
precise nature of this complaint is ?" I inquired in an 
under tone. 

" Yes — in common with every one else that has tried 
to discover it. That it is an affection of the spinal chord, 
is clear ; q ut what is the immediate exciting cause of 
these tremendous paroxysms I cannot conjecture," re- 
plied Dr D 

" What have been the principal remedies resorted 
to ? r ' 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 59 

" Oh, every thing — almost every thing that the wit 
of man could devise — local and general bleedings to a 
dreadful extent ; irritations and counter irritations with- 
out end ; electricity — galvanism — all the resources of 
medicine and surgery have been ransacked to no pur- 
pose. — Look at him !" whispered Dr D , " look — 

look — do you see how his whole body is drawn together 
in a heap, while his limbs are quivering as though they 
would fall from him ? — See — see — how they are now 
struck out, and plunging about, his hands clutching con- 
vulsively at the carpet — scarcely a trace of humanity in 
his distorted features — as if this great and good man 
were the sport of a demon !" 

" Oh ! gracious God ! Can we do nothing to help 
him ?" I inquired, suddenly approaching him, almost 
stifled with my emotions. Mr E did not seem con- 
scious of our approach ; but lay rather quieter, groan- 
ing, — " Oh— oh — oh — that it would please God to dis- 
miss me from my sufferings !" 

" My dear, dear Mr E ," exclaimed Dr D , 

excessively agitated, " can we do nothing for you ? Can't 
we be of any service to you ?" 

" Oh, none — none — none !" he groaned, in tones ex- 
pressive of utter hopelessness. For more than a quar- 
ter of an hour did this victim of disease continue writh- 
ing on the floor, and we standing by, "physicians of no 
value !" The violence of the paroxysm abated at length, 
and again we stooped, for the purpose of raising him and 
carrying him to the sofa — but he motioned us off, ex- 
claiming so faintly as to be almost inaudible, — " No — 
no, thank you — I must not be moved for this hour — 
and when I am, it must be to bed." — " Then we will bid 



60 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

you good-evening, and pray to God you may be better 
in the morning." — " Yes — yes ; better — better ; good — 
good-bye," he muttered indistinctly. 

" Master's falling asleep, gentlemen, as he always does 
after these fits," said Joseph, who had his arm round his 
suffering master's neck. We, of course, left immediate- 
ly, and met Miss E in the passage, muffled in her 

shawl, and sobbing as if she would break her heart. 

Dr D told me, as we were driving home, that, 

about two years ago, E made a week's stay with 

him ; and that, on one occasion, he endured agonies of 
such dreadful intensity, as nothing could abate, or in 
any measure alleviate, but two doses of laudanum, of 
nearly half an ounce each, within half an hour of each 
other ; and that even then he did not sleep for more than 
two hours. " When he awoke," continued my friend, 
" he was lying on the sofa in a state of the utmost ex- 
haustion, the perspiration running from him like water. 
I asked him if he did not sometimes yield to such 
thoughts as were suggested to Job by his impetuous 
friends, — to ' curse God and die,' — to repine at the long 
and lingering tortures he had endured nearly all his life, 
for no apparent crime of his own ? ' No, no,' he replied 
calmly; ' I've suffered too long an apprenticeship to pain 
for that ! I own I was at first a little disobedient — a little 
restive — but now I am learning resignation ! Would not 
useless fretting serve to enhance — to aggravate my pains?' 
' Well !' I exclaimed, ' it puzzles my theology — if any 

thing could make me sceptical ' E saw the 

train of my thoughts, and interrupted me, laying his 
white wasted hand on mine — ' I always strive to bear in 
mind that I am in the hands of a God as good as great, 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 61 

and that I am not to doubt his goodness, because I can- 
not exactly see how he brings it about. Doubtless there 
are reasons for my suffering what I do, which, though at 
present incomprehensible to me, would appear abundant- 
ly satisfactory, could I be made acquainted with them. 

Oh, Dr D , what would become of me,' said E , 

solemnly, 'were I, instead of the rich consolations of re- 
ligion, to have nothing to rely on but the disheartening 
speculations of infidelity ! — If in this world only I have 
hope,' he continued, looking steadfastly upwards, ' I am 
of all men most miserable !'— Is it not dangerous to know 
such a man, lest one should feel inclined to fall down 
and worship him?" inquired my friend. Indeed I thought 
so. Surely E was a miracle of patience and forti- 
tude ! and how he had contrived to make his splendid 
advancements in science, while subject to such almost 
unheard-of tortures, both as to duration and intensity — 
had devoted himself so successfully to the prosecution 
of studies requiring habits of long, patient, profound, 
abstraction, — was to me inconceivable. 

How few of us are aware of what is suffered by those 
with whom we are most intimate ! How few know the 
heavy counterbalancings of popularity and eminence — 
the exquisite agonies, whether physical or mental, inflict- 
ed by one irremoveable " thorn in the flesh !" Oh ! the 
miseries of that eminence whose chief prerogative too 
often is — 

Above the vulgar herd to rot in state ! 

How little had I thought, while gazing at the 

Rooms on this admirable man, first fascinated with the 
placidity of his noble features, that I looked at one who 



62 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

had equal claims to the 'character of a martyr and a 
philosopher ! How my own petty grievances dwindled 

away in comparison with those endured by E ! 

How contemptible the pusillanimity I had often exhi- 
bited ! 

And do you, reader, who, if a man, are, perhaps, in 
the habit of cursing and blaspheming while smarting 
under the toothach, or any of those minor " ills that 
flesh is heir to," think, at such times, of poor, meek, suf- 
fering E , and be silent ! 

I could not dismiss from nly mind the painful image 
of E writhing on the floor, as I have above de- 
scribed, but lay the greater part of the night reflecting 
on the probable nature of his unusual disorder. Was it 
any thing of a spasmodic nature ? Would not such at- 
tacks have worn him out long ago ? Was it one of the 
remoter effects of partial paralysis ? Was it a preter- 
natural pressure on the spinal chord, occasioned by frac- 
ture of one of the vertebras, or enlargement ot the inter- 
vertebral ligaments ? Or was it owing to a thickening 
of the medulla-spinalis itself? 

Fifty similar conjectures passed through my mind, ex- 
cited as well by the singularity of the disease, as by symr 
pathy for the sufferer. Before I fell asleep, I resolved 
to call on him during the next day, and inquire careful- 
ly into the nature of his symptoms, in the forlorn hope 
of hitting on some means of mitigating his sufferings. 

By twelve o'clock at noon I was set down again at his 
door. A maid-servant answered my summons, and told 

me that Mr E and Joseph were busily engaged in 

the " Labbory !" She took in my card to him, and re- 
turned with her master's compliments, and he would 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 63 

thank me to step in. I followed the girl to the laborato- 
ry. On opening the door, I saw E and his trusty 

work-fellow, Joseph, busily engaged fusing some species 
of metal. The former was dressed as on the preceding 
evening, with the addition of a long black apron, — look- 
ed heated and flushed with exercise ; and, with his stoop- 
ing gait, was holding some small implement over the 
furnace, while Joseph, on his knees, was puffing away at 

the fire with a small pair of bellows To anticipate for 

a moment. How little did E or I imagine, that this 

was very nearly the last time of his ever again entering 
the scene of his long and useful scientific labours ! 

I was utterly astonished to see one whose sufferings 
over night had been so dreadful, quietly pursuing his 
avocations in the morning, as though nothing had hap- 
pened to him ! 

" Excuse my shaking hands with you for the present, 

Doctor," said E , looking at me through a huge pair 

of tortoise-shell spectacles, " for both hands are engaged, 

you see. My friend Dr has just sent me a piece 

of platina, and you see I'm already playing pranks with 
it ! Really, I'm as eager to spoil a plaything to see what 
my rattle's made of, as any philosophical child in the 
kingdom ! Here I am analyzing, dissolving, transmu- 
ting, and so on — But I've really an important end in 
view here, trying a new combination of metal, and Dr 
is anxious to know if the result of my process cor- 
responds with his. — Now, now, Joseph," said E , 

breaking oft'suddenly, " it is ready ; bring the" At 

this critical instant, by some unlucky accident, poor Jo- 
seph suddenly overthrew the whole apparatus — and the 
compounds, ashes, fragments, &c. were spilled on the 



64 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

floor ! Really, I quite lost my own temper with think- 
ing of the vexatious disappointment itwould be to E . 

Not so, however, with him. 

" Oh, dear — dear, dear me ! Well, here's an end of 
our day's work before we thought for it ! How did you 

do it, Joseph, eh ?' said E , with an air of chagrin, 

but with perfect mildness of tone. What a ludicrous 
contrast between the philosopher and his assistant ! The 
latter, an obese little fellow, with a droll cast of one eye, 
was quite red in the face, and, wringing his hands, ex- 
claimed, — " O Lord — O Lord — O Lord ! what could 
I have been doing, master ?" 

" Why, that's surely your concern more than mine," 

replied E , smiling at me. " Come, come, it can't 

be helped — you've done yourself more harm than me — 
by giving Dr such a specimen of your awkward- 
ness as / have not seen for many a month. See and set 

things to rights as soon as possible," said E , calmly 

putting away his spectacles. 

" Well, Dr , what do you think of my little work- 
shop ?" he continued, addressing me, who still stood with 
my hat and gloves on — surprised and delighted to see 
that his temper had stood this trial, and that such a pro- 
voking contre-temps had really not at all ruffled him. 
From the position in which he stood, the light fell strong- 
ly on his face, and I saw his features more distinctly 
than heretofore. I noticed that sure index of a think- 
ing countenance, — three strong perpendicular marks or 
folds between the eyebrows, at right angles with the deep 
wrinkles that furrowed his forehead, and then the " un- 
troubled lustre" of his cold, clear, full, blue eyes, rich 
and serene as that 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 65 



through whose clear medium the great sun 



Loveth to shoot his beams, all bright 'ning, Ml 
Turning to gold. 

Reader, when you see a face of this stamp, so marked, 
and with such eyes and forehead, rest assured you are 
looking at a gifted, if not an extraordinary man. 

The lower features were somewhat shrunk and sallow 
— as well they might, if only from a thousand hours of 
agony, setting aside the constant wearing of his " ever 
waking mind ;" yet a smile of cheerfulness — call it rather 
resignation — irradiated his pale countenance, like twi- 
light on a sepulchre. He shewed me round his labora- 
tory, which was kept in most exemplary cleanliness and 
order ; and then, opening a door, we entered the " sanc- 
tum sanctorum" — his study. It had not more, I should 
think, than five or six hundred books ; but all of them — 
in plain substantial bindings — had manifestly seen good 
service. Immediately beneath the window stood seve- 
ral portions of a splendid astronomical apparatus — a very 
large telescope, in exquisite order — a recently invented 
instrument for calculating the parallaxes of the fixed stars 
— a chronometer of his own construction, &c. " Do you 
see this piece of furniture ?" he inquired, directing my 
attention to a sort of sideless sofa, or broad inclined plane, 
stuffed, the extremity turned up, to rest the feet against 
— and being at an angle of about forty-five degrees with 
the floor. " Ah ! could that thing speak, it might tell a 
tale of my tortures, such as no living being may ! For, 
when I feel my daily paroxysms coming on me, if I am 
anywhere near my study, I lay my wearied limbs here, 
and continue till I find relief!" This put conversation 
into the very train I wished. I begged him to favour 

VOL. II. E 



66 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

me with a description of his disease ; and he sat down 
and complied. I recollect him comparing the pain to 
that which might follow the incessant stinging of a wasp 
at the spinal marrow — sudden lancinating, accompanied 
by quivering sensations throughout the whole nervous 
system — followed by a strange sense of numbness. He 
said, that at other times it was as though some one were 
in the act of drilling a hole through his backbone, and 
piercing the marrow ! Sometimes, during the moments 
of his most ecstatic agonies, he felt as though his back- 
bone were rent asunder all the way up. The pain was, 
on the whole, local — confined to the first of the lumbar 
vertebrae ; but occasionally fluctuating between them and 
the dorsal. 

When he had finished the dreary details of his dis- 
ease, I was obliged to acknowledge, with a sigh, that no- 
thing suggested itself to me as a remedy, but what I un- 
derstood from Dr D had been tried over and over, 

and over again " You are right," he replied, sorrow- 
fully. " Dreadful as are my sufferings, the bare thought 
of undergoing more medical or surgical treatment makes 
me shudder. My back is already frightfully disfigured 
with the searings of caustic, seton-marks, cupping, and 
blistering ; and I hope God will give me patience to wait 
till these perpetual knockings, as it were, shall have at 
length battered down this frail structure." 

" Mr E , you rival some of the old martyrs !" I 

faltered, grasping his hand as we rose to leave the study. 

" In point of bodily suffering, I may ; but their holi- 
ness ! Those who are put into the keenest parts — the 
very heart of the ' fiery furnace' — will come out most 
refined at last !" 



THE MAKTYR PHILOSOPHER. 67 

" Well, you may be earning a glorious reward here- 
after, for your constancy" 

" Or I may be merely smarting for the sins of my fore- 
fathers !" exclaimed E , mournfully. 

Monday, July 1 8 — Having been summoned to a 
patient in the neighbourhood of E , I took that op- 
portunity of calling upon him on my return. It was 
about nine o'clock in the evening ; and I found the phi- 
losopher sitting pensively in the parlour alone ; for his 
niece, I learned, had retired early, owing to indisposi- 
tion. A peculiar sinumbra lamp, of his own contrivance, 
stood on the table, which was strewn with books, pam- 
phlets, and papers. He received me with his usual 
gentle affability. 

" I don't know how it is, but I feel in a singular mood 
of mind to-night," said he : " I ought to say rather many 
moods : sometimes so suddenly and strongly excited, 
as to lose the control over my emotions — at others sink- 
ing into the depths of despondency. I've been trying 
for these two hours to glance over this New View of tine 
Neptunian Theory," pointing to an open book on the 

table, " which has sent me, to review for him in tht- 

; but 'tis useless ; I cannot command my thoughts." 

I felt his pulse : it was one of the most irregular I had 
ever known. " I know what you suspect," said he, ob- 
serving my eyes fixed with a puzzled air on my watch, 
and my finger at his wrist, for several minutes ; " some 
organic mischief at the heart. Several of your frater- 
nity have latterly comforted me with assurances to that 
effect." I assured him I did not apprehend any thing of 
the kind, but merely that his circulation was a little dis- 
turbed by recent excitement. 



68 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

" True — true," he replied, " I am a little flustered, as 
the phrase is" 

" Oh — here's the secret, I suppose ?" said I, reaching 
to a periodical publication of the month, lying on the 
table, and in which I had a few days ago read a some- 
what virulent attack on him. " You're very rudely 
handled here, I think ?" said I. 

" What, do you think that has discomposed me ?" he 
inquired with a smile. " No, no — I'm past feeling these 
things long ago ! Abuse — mere personality — now ex- 
cites in me no emotion of any kind !" 

" Why, Mr E , surely you are not indifferent to 

the opinion of the public, which may be misled by such 
things as these, if suffered to go unanswered ?" 

" I am not afraid of that. If I've done any thing good 
in my time, as I have honestly tried to do, sensible 
people won't believe me an impostor, at any man's bid- 
ding. Those who would be so influenced, are hardly 
worth undeceiving." * 

* * " There's a good deal of acuteness in the paper, 
and, in one particular, the reviewer has fairly caught me 
tripping. He may laugh at me as much as he pleases ; 
but why go about to put himself in a passion ? The 

* " This gentleman's speculations have long served to amuse children 
and old people : now that he has become old himself, he also may hope 
for amusement from them." — " This mountain has so long brought 
forth mice, that, now it has become enfeebled and worn out, it may 
amuse itself with looking after its progeny." — " Chimeras of a dis- 
eased brain." — " Quackery." Review *, [neither the Edinburgh 

nor Quarterly.] Mr E knew who was the writer of this article. 

* The French Translator volunteers to assign in a note, " X.e New Monthly 
Magazine," as the one alluded to, and from which these quotations are made, 
(hough l distinctly stated it to be one of the Reviews. 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 69 

subject did not require it. But if he is in a passion, 
should I not be foolish to be in one too ? — Passion serves 
only to put out truth ; and no one would indulge it that 
had truth only in view. * * The real occasion of my 
nervousness," he continued, " is far different from what 
you have supposed, — a little incident which occurred 
only this evening, and I will tell it you. 

" My niece, feeling poorly with a cold, retired to bed 
as soon as she had done tea! and, after sitting here about 
a quarter of an hour, I took one of the candles, and walk- 
ed to the laboratory, to see whether all was right — as 
is my custom every evening. On opening the door, to 
my very great amazement, I saw a stranger in it : a gen- 
tleman in dark-coloured clothes, holding a dim taper in 
one hand, and engaged in going round the room, appa- 
rently putting all my instruments in order. I stood at 
the door almost petrified, watching his movements, with- 
out thinking of interrupting them, for a sudden feeling 
of something like awe crept over me. He made no 
noise whatever, and did not seem aware that any one 
was looking at him — or if he was, he did not seem dis- 
posed to notice the interruption. I saw him as clearly, 
and what he was doing, as I now see you playing with 
your gloves ! He was engaged leisurely putting away 
all my loose implements ; shutting boxes, cases, and cup- 
boards, with the accuracy of one who was perfectly well 
acquainted with his work. Having thus disposed of all 
the instruments and apparatus which had been used to- 
day — and we have had very manyjmore than usual ©ut- 
ile opened the inner-door leading to the study, and en- 
tered — I following in mute astonishment. He went to 
work the same way in the study ; shutting up several 



70 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

volumes that lay open on the table, and carefully repla- 
cing them in their proper places on the shelves. 

" Having cleared away these, he approached the as- 
tronomical apparatus near the window, put the cap on 
the object-end of the telescope, pushed in the joints all 
noiselessly, closed up in its case my new chronometer, 
and then returned to the table where my desk lay, took 
up the inkstand, poured out the ink into the fireplace. 
Hung all the pens under the grate, and then shut the 
desk, locked it, and laid the key on the top of it. When 
he had done all this, he walked towards the wall, and 
turned slowly towards me, looked me full in the face, 
and shook his head mournfully. The taper he held in 
his hand slowly expired, and the spectre, if such it were, 
disappeared. The strangest part of the story is yet to 
follow. The pale, fixed features seemed perfectly fami- 
liar to me — they were those which I had often gazed 
at, in a portrait of Mr Boyle, prefixed to my quarto copy 
of his Treatise of Atmospheric Air. As soon as I had 
a little recovered my self-possession, I took down the 
work in question, and examined the portrait. I was right ! 
— I cannot account for my not having spoken to the 
figure, or gone close up to it. I think I could have done 
either, as far as courage went. My prevailing idea was, 
that a single word would have dissolved the charm, and 
my curiosity prompted me to see it out. I returned to 
the parlour, and rang the bell for Joseph. 

" ' Joseph,' said I, ' have you set things to rights in 
the laboratory and study to night ?' — ' Yes, master,' he 
replied, with surprise in his manner ; ' I finished it be- 
fore tea-time, and set things in particular good order — 
I gave both the rooms a right good cleaning out — I'm 
sure there's not even a oin in its wrona- nlace.' 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 71 

" ' What made you fling the pens and ink in the fire- 
place and under the grate ?' 

" f Because I thought they were of no use — the pens 
worn to stumps, and the ink thick and clotted — too much 
gum in it.' He was evidently astonished at being ask- 
ed such questions — and was going to explain further, 
when I said simply, ' That will do,' and he retired. Now, 
what am I to think of all this ? If it were a mere ocular 
spectrum, clothed with its functions from my own exci- 
ted fancy, there was yet a unity of purpose in its doings 
that is extraordinary ! Something very much like ' shut- 
ting up the shop' — eh ?" inquired E , with a melan- 
choly smile. 

" 'Tis touching — very ! I never heard of a more sin- 
gular incident," I replied, abstractedly, Avithout remov- 
ing my eyes from the fire ; for my reading of the occur- 
rence was a sudden and strong conviction, that, ghost or 

no ghost, E had toiled his last in the behalf of science 

— that he would never again have occasion to use his 
philosophical machinery ! This melancholy presentiment 
invested E , and all he said or did, with tenfold in- 
terest in my eyes. " Don't suppose, Doctor, that I am 
weak enough to be seriously disturbed by the occurrence 
I have just been mentioning. Whether or not it really 
portends my approaching death, I know not. Though 
I am not presumptuous enough to suppose myself so im- 
portant as to warrant any special interference of Provi- 
dence on my behalf, yet I cannot help thinking I am to 
look on this as a warning — a solemn premonition — that I 
may ' set my house in order, and die.' " Our conversation 
during the remainder of our interview, turned on the topic 
suggested by the affecting incident just related. I listen- 
ed to all he uttered, as to the words of a doomed — a dying 



72 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

man ! What E advanced on this difficult and in- 
teresting subject, was marked not less by sound philoso- 
phy, than unfeigned piety. He ended with avowing his 
belief, that the Omnipotent Being, who formed both the 
body and the soul, and willed them to exist unitedly, 
could surely, nevertheless, if he saw good, cause the one 
to exist separately from the other ; either by endowing 
it with new properties for that special purpose, or by en- 
abling it to exercise, in its disembodied state, those pow- 
ers which continued latent in it during its connexion 
with the body. Did it follow, he asked, that neither 
body nor soul possessed any other qualities than those 
which were necessary to enable them to exist together ? 
Why should the soul be incapable of a substantially dis- 
tinct personal existence ? Where the impossibility of 
its being made visible to organs of sense ? Has the Al- 
mighty no means of bringing this to pass ? Are there 
no latent properties in the organs of vision — no subtle 
sympathies with immaterial substances — which are yet 
undiscovered — and even undiscoverable ? Surely this 
may be the case — though how, it would be impossible 
to conjecture. He saw no bad philosophy, he said, in 
this ; and he who decided the question in the negative, 
before he had brought forward some evidence of its mo- 
ral or physical impossibility, was guilty of most presump- 
tuous dogmatism. 

This is the substance of his opinions ; but alas ! I lack 
the chaste, nervous, philosophical eloquence in which 
they were clothed. A distinguished living character 

said of E , that he was the most fascinating talker 

on abstruse subjects he ever heard. I could have staid 
all night listening to him. In fact, I fear I did trespass 
on his politeness even to inconvenience. I staid and 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 73 

partook of his supper, — simple frugal fare — consisting 
of roast potatoes, and two tumblers of new milk. I left 
about eleven : my mind occupied but with one wish all 

the way home, — that I had known E intimately for 

as many years as hours ! 

Two days afterwards, the following hurried note was 

put into my hands, from my friend Dr D : " My 

dear , I am sure you will be as much afflicted as I 

was, at hearing that our inestimable friend, Mr E , 

had a sudden stroke of the palsy this afternoon, about 
two o'clock, from which I very much fear he may never 
recover ; for this, added to his advanced age, and the 
dreadful chronic complaint under which he labours, is 
surely sufficient to shatter the small remains of his 
strength. I need hardly say, that all is in confusion at 

. I am going down there to-night, and shall be 

happy to drive you down also, if you will be at my 
house by seven. Yours," &c. I was grieved and agi- 
tated, but in nowise surprised at this intelligence. What 
passed the last time I saw him prepared me for some- 
thing of this kind ! 

On arriving in the evening, we were shewn into the 
parlour, where sat Miss E , in a paroxysm of hys- 
terical weeping, which had forced her a few moments 
before to leave her uncle's sick-room. It was some time 
before we could calm her agitated spirits, or get her to 
give us any thing like a connected account of her uncle's 
sudden illness. " Oh, these will tell you all !" said she, 
sobbing, and taking two letters from her bosom, one of 
which bore a black seal : " It is these cruel letters that 
have broken his heart ! Both came by the same post 
this morning !" She withdrew, promising to send for 



74 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

us when all was ready, and we hastily opened the two 
letters she had left. What will the reader suppose were 
the two heavy strokes dealt at once upon the head of 

Mr E by an inscrutable Providence ? The letter 

I opened, conveyed the intelligence of the sudden death, 

in childbed, of Mrs , his only daughter, to whom 

he had been most passionately attached. The letter Dr 

D held in his hand, disclosed an instance of almost 

unparalleled perfidy and ingratitude. I shall here state 
what I learned afterwards, — that, many years ago, Mr 

E had taken a poor lad from one of the parish 

schools *, pleased with his quickness and obedience, and 
had apprenticed him to a respectable tradesman. He 
served his articles honourably, and Mr E nobly ad- 
vanced him funds to establish himself in business. He 
prospered beyond every one's expectations : and the 

good, generous, confiding E , was so delighted with 

his conduct, and persuaded of his principles, that he gra- 
dually advanced him large sums of money to increase 
an extensive connexion ; and, at last, invested his all, 
amounting to little short of £ 1 5,000, in this man's con- 
cern, for which he received five per cent. Sudden suc- 
cess, however, turned this young man's head ; and Mr 

E had long been uneasy at hearing current rumours 

about his protege's unsteadiness and extravagance. He 
had several times spoken to him about them ; but was 
easily persuaded that the reports in question were as 
groundless as malignant. And as the last half-year's in- 

* " Enfans trouves, enfans de pauvres. On peut se charger d'eux 
en pay ant une somme a la paroisse qui vous le livre. Cette coutume a 
degenere d'une maniere horrible, et, dans certains cantons d'Angle- 
terre, elle est devenue un veritable marche de chair humaine." — Note 
of the French Translator. 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 75 

terest was paid punctually, accompanied with a hint, that 
if doubts were entertained of his probity, the man was 

ready to refund a great part of the principal, Mr E 's 

confidence revived. Now, the letter in question was 
from this person ; and stated, that, though " circum- 
stances" had compelled him to withdraw from his cre- 
ditors for the present — in other words, to abscond — he 

had no doubt that if Mr E would wait a little, he 

should in time be able to pay him " a fair dividend !" 

" Good God ! why, E is ruined .'" exclaimed Dr 

D , turning pale, and dropping the letter, after ha- 
ving read it to me. " Yes, ruined ! — all the hard savings 
of many years' labour and economy, gone at a stroke !" 

" Why, was all his small fortune embarked in this 
man's concern ?" 

" All, except a few hundreds lying loose at his bank- 
er's ! — What is to become of poor Miss E ?" 

" Cannot this infamous scoundrel be brought to jus- 
tice ?" I inquired. 

" If he were, he may prove, perhaps, not worth pow- 
der and shot, the viper!" 

Similar emotions kept us both silent for several mo- 
ments. 

" This will put his philosophy to a dreadful trial," 
said I. " How do you think he will bear it, should he 
recover from the present seizure so far as to be made 
sensible of the extent of his misfortunes ?" 

" Oh, nobly, nobly ! I'll pledge my existence to it ! 
Hell bear it like a Christian as well as a philosopher ! 
I've seen him in trouble before this." 

" Is Miss E entirely dependent on her uncle ; and 

has he made no provision for her ?" 



76 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

" Alas ! he had appropriated to her L. 5000 of the 
L. 1 5,000 in this man's hands as a marriage portion — 
I know it, for I am one of his executors. The circum- 
stance of leaving her thus destitute will, I know, prey 
cruelly on his mind." Shortly afterwards, we were sum- 
moned into the chamber of the venerable sufferer. His 
niece sat at the bedside, near his head, holding one of 

his cold motionless hands in hers. Mr E 's face, 

deadly pale, and damp with perspiration, had suffered a 
shocking distortion of the features, — the left eye and the 
mouth being drawn downwards to the left side. He 
gazed at us vacantly, evidently without recognising us, 
as we took our stations, one at the foot, the other at the 
side of the bed. What a melancholy contrast between 
the present expression of his eyes, and that of acuteness 
and brilliance which eminently characterised them in 
health ! They reminded me of Milton's sun, looking 

through the horizontal misty air, 

Shorn of its beams. 

The distorted lips were moving about incessantly, as 
though with abortive efforts to speak, though he could 
utter nothii^ t an inarticulate murmuring sound, which 
he had continued almost from the moment of his being 
struck. Was it not a piteous — a heart-rending spec- 
tacle ? Was this the philosopher ! 

After making due inquiries, and ascertaining the ex- 
tent of the injury to his nervous system, we withdrew 
to consult on the treatment to be adopted. I consider- 
ed that the uncommon quantities of laudanum he had 
so long been in the habit of receiving into his system, 
alone sufficientlyaccounted for his present seizure. Then, 
again, the disease in his spine — the consequent exhaus- 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 77 

tiou of his energies — the sedentary, thoughtful life he 
led — all these were at least predisposing causes. The 
sudden shock he had received in the morning merely 
accelerated what had long been advancing on him. We 
both anticipated a speedy fatal issue, and resolved to 
take the earliest opportunity of acquainting him with his 
approaching end. 

[He lies in nearly the same state during Thursday 
and Friday.] 

Saturday. — We are both astonished and delighted to 

find that E 's daily paroxysms have deserted him, 

at least he has exhibited no symptoms of their appear- 
ance up to this day. On entering the room, we found 
to our inexpressible satisfaction, that his disorder had 
taken a very unusual and happy course — having been 
worked out of the system by fever. This, as my medi- 
cal readers will be aware, is a very rare occurrence. — 
[Three or four pages of the Diary are occupied with 
technical details, of no interest whatever to the general 
reader.] — His features were soon restored to their na- 
tural position, and, in short, every appearance of palsy 
left him. < ,,. 

Sunday evening — Mr E going on well, and his 

mental energies and speech perfectly restored. I called 
on him alone. Almost his first words to me were, — 
" Well, Doctor, good Mr Boyle was right, you see ?" 
I replied, that it yet remained to be proved. 

" God sent me a noble messenger to summon me 
hence, did he not ? One whose character has always 
been my model, as far as I could imitate his great and 
good qualities." 

" You attach too much weight, Mr E , to that 

creature of imagination" 



78 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

" What ! do you really doubt that I am on my death- 
bed ? I assuredly shall not recover. The pains in my 
back have left me, that my end may be easy. Ay, ay, 
the ' silver cord is loosed.' " — I inquired about the sud- 
den cessation of his chronic complaint. He said, it had 
totally disappeared, leaving behind it only a sensation 
of numbness. " In this instance of His mercy towards 
an unworthy worm of the earth, I devoutly thank my 
Father — my God !" he exclaimed, looking reverentially 
upward. — " Oh, how could I in patience have possess- 
ed my soul, if to the pains of dying had been superadded 
those which have embittered life ! — My constant prayer 
to God has been, that, if it be His will, my life may run 
out clear to the last drop ; and though the stream has 
been a little troubled," — alluding to the intelligence 
which had occasioned his illness, " I may yet have my 
prayer answered. — Oh, sweet darling Anne! why should 
I grieve for you ? Where I am going, I humbly believe 
you are ! Root and branch — both gathered home !" 
He shed tears abundantly, but spoke of the dreadful be- 
reavement in terms of perfect resignation. * * * 
" You are no doubt acquainted," he continued, " with 
the other afflicting news, which, I own, has cut me to the 
quick ! My confidence has been betrayed — my sweet 
niece's prospects utterly blighted — and I made a beggar 
of in my old age. This ungrateful man has squander- 
ed away infamously the careful savings of more than 
thirty years — every penny of which has been earned 
with the sweat of my brow. I do not so much care for 
it myself, as I have still enough left to preserve me from 
want during the few remaining days I have left me ; but 
my poor dear Emma ! My heart aches to think of it !" 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 79 

" I hope you may yet recover some portion of your 

property, Mr E ; the man speaks in his letter of 

paying you a fair dividend." 

" No, no — when once a man has deliberately acted 
in such an unprincipled manner as he has, it is foolish 
to expect restitution. Loss of character and the confi- 
dence of his benefactor, makes him desperate. I find, 
that, should I linger on earth longer than a few weeks, 
I cannot now afford to pay the rent of this house — I 
must remove from it — I cannot die in the house in which 
my poor wife breathed her last — this very room !" His 
tears burst forth again, and mine started to my eyes. 
" A friend is now looking out .lodgings for me in the 
neighbourhood, to which I shall remove the instant my 
health will permit. It goes to my heart, to think of the 
bustling auctioneer disposing of all my apparatus," — 
tears again gushed from his eyes — " the companions of 
many years" 

" Dear, dear sir ! — Your friends will ransack heaven 
and earth before your fears shall be verified," said I, with 
emotion. 

" They — you — are very good — but you would be un- 
successful ! — You must think me very weak to let these 
things overcome me in this way — one can't help feeling 
them ! — A man may writhe under the amputating knife, 
and yet acknowledge the necessity of its use ! My spirit 
wants disciplining." 

" Allow me to say, Mr E , that I think you bear 

your misfortunes with admirable fortitude — true philo- 
sophic" 

" Oh, Doctor ! Doctor !" he exclaimed, interrupting 
me, with solemn emphasis — " Believe a dying man, to 



80 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

whom all this world's fancied realities have sunk into 
shadows — nothing can make a deathbed easy, but re- 
ligion— a humble, hearty faith in Him, whose Son re- 
deemed mankind ! Philosophy — science — is a nothing 
— a mockery — a delusion — if it be only of this world ! 
I believe from the bottom of my heart, and have long 
done so, that the essence — the very crown and glory of 
true philosophy, is to surrender up the soul entirely to 
God's teaching, and practically receive and appreciate 
the consolations of the gospel of Jesus Christ !" Oh, the 
fervency with which he expressed himself — his shrunk 
clasped hands pointed upwards, and his features beam- 
ing with devotion ! I told him it did my heart good to 
hear such opinions avowed by a man of his distinguish- 
ed attainments. 

" Don't — don't — don't talk in that strain, Doctor !" 
said he, turning to me with a reproving air. " Could a 
living man but know how compliments pall upon a dying 
man's ear ***** I am going shortly into the 
presence of Him who is Wisdom itself ; and shall I go 
pluming myself on my infinitely less than glow-worm 
glimmer, into the presence of that pure Effulgence ? 
Doctor, I've felt, latterly, that I would give worlds to 
forget the pitiful acquirements which I have purchased 
by a life's labour, if my soul might meet a smile of ap- 
probation when it first flits into the presence of its Ma- 
ker — its Judge !" Strange language ! thought I, for the 

scientific E , confessedly a master-mind among men ! 

Would that the shoal of sciolists, now babbling abroad 
their infidel crudities, could have had one moment's in- 
terview with this dying philosopher ! Pert fools, who 
are hardly released from their leading-strings — the very 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 81 

go-cart, as it were, of elemental science — before they strut 
about, and forthwith proceed to pluck their Maker by 
the beard — and this, as an evidence of their " independ- 
ence," and being released from the " trammels of su- 
perstition !" 

O Lord and Maker of the universe ! — that thou 
shouldst be so " long-suffering" towards these insolent 
insects of an hour! 

To return : I left E in a glowing mood of mind, 

disposed to envy him his deathbed, even with all the 
ills which attended it ! Before leaving the house, I step- 
ped into the parlour to speak a few words to Miss E . 

The sudden illness of her uncle had found its way into 
the papers ; and I was delighted to find it had brought 
a profusion of cards every morning, many of them bear- 
ing the most distinguished names in rank and science. 

It shewed that E 's worth was properly appreciated. 

I counted the cards of five noblemen, and very many 
members of the Royal, and other learned Societies. 

Wednesday, 15th August. — Well, poor E was 

yesterday removed from his house in Row, where 

he had resided upwards of twenty-five years — which he 
had fitted up, working often with his own hands, at much 
trouble and expense — having built the laboratory-room 
since he had the house : he was removed, I say, from his 
house, to lodgings in the neighbourhood. He has three 
rooms on the first floor, small indeed, and in humble 
style — but perfectly clean, neat, and comfortable. Was 
not this itself sufficient to have broken many a haughtj- 
spirit ? His extensive philosophical apparatus, furniture, 
&c. had all been sold, at less than a tiventieth part of the 

VOL. II. c 



82 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

sum they had originally cost him ! No tidings as yet have 
been received of the villain who has ruined his generous 

patron ! E has ceased however to talk of it ; but I 

see that Miss E feels it acutely. Poor girl, well she 

may ! Her uncle was carried in a sedan to his new resi- 
dence, and fainted on the way, but has continued in tole- 
rable spirits since his arrival. His conduct is the ad- 
miration of all that see or hear of him ! The first words 
he uttered, as he was sitting before the fire in an easy- 
chair, after recovering a little from the exhaustion oc- 
casioned by his being carried up stairs, were to Dr 
D , who had accompanied him. " Well !" — he whis- 
pered faintly, with his eyes shut — " What a gradation ! 

— Reached the halfioay-house between Row and 

the ' house appointed for all living !' " 

" You have much to bear, sir !" said Dr D 

" And more to be thankful for !" replied E . " If 

there was such a thing as a Protestant Calendar" said 

Dr D to me, enthusiastically, while recounting what 

is told above, " and I could canonize, E should stand 

first on the list, and be my patron saint !" When I saw 

E , he was lying in bed, in a very low and weak 

state, evidently declining rapidly. Still he looked as 
placid as his fallen features would let him. 

" Doctor," said he, soon after I had sat down, " how 
very good it is of you to come so far out of your regu- 
lar route to see me !" 

" Don't name it," said I ; " proud and happy" 

" But, excuse me, I wish to tell you that, when I am 
gone, you will find I knew how to be grateful, as far as 
my means would warrant." 

" Mr E ! my dear sir !" said I, as firmly as my 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 83 

emotions could let me, " if you don't promise, this day, 
to erase every mention of my name or services from 
your will, I leave you, and solemnly declare I will never 

intrude upon you again ! Mr E , you distress me, 

— you do, beyond measure !" 

« Well — well — well — I'll obey you— ,but may God 
bless you ! God bless you !" he replied, turning his head 
away, while the tears trickled down. Indeed ! as if a 
thousand guineas could have purchased the emotions 
with which I felt his poor damp fingers feebly compress- 
ing my hand ! 

* * # # * 

" Doctor !" he exclaimed, after I had been sitting 
with him some time, conversing on various subjects con- 
nected with his illness and worldly circumstances, 

" don't you think God can speak to the soul as well in 
a night as a day dream ? Shall I presume to say he has 
done so in my case ?" I asked him what he was alluding 
to. 

" Don't you recollect my telling you of an optical, or 

spectral illusion, which occurred to me at Row ? 

A man shutting up the shop — you know ?" I told him 
I did. 

" Well — last night I dreamed — I am satisfied it was 
a dream — that I saw Mr Boyle again ; but how diffe- 
rent ! Instead of gloomy clothing, his appearance was 
wondrously radiant : and his features were not, as be- 
fore, solemn, sad, and fixed, but wore an air of joy and 
exultation ; and instead of a miserable expiring taper, he 
held aloft a light like the kindling lustre of a star ! What, 
think you of that, Doctor ? Surely, if both these are the 
delusions of a morbid fancy — if they are, what a li<dit 
they fling over the ' dark vallev' I am entering !" 



84 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

I hinted my dissent from the sceptical sneers of the 
day, which would resolve all that was uttered on death- 
beds into delirious rant — confused, disordered faculties 
— superstition. 

" I think you are right," said he. " Who knows what 
new light may stream upon the soul, as the wall between 
time and eternity is breaking down. ? Who has come 
back from the grave to tell us that the soul's energies 
decay with the body, or that the body's decay destroys 
or interrupts the exercise of the soul's powers, and that 
all a dying man utters is mere gibberish ? The Christian 
philosopher would be loath to do so, when he recollects 
that God chose the hour of death to reveal futurity to 
the patriarchs, and others, of old ! Do you think a su- 
perintending Providence would allow the most solemn 
and instructive period of our life, the close — scenes where 
men's hearts and eyes are open, if ever, to receive ad- 
monition and encouragement, to be mere exhibitions of 
absurdity and weakness ? Is that the way God treats his 
servants ?" 

Friday afternoon. — In a more melancholy mood than 
usual, on account of the evident distress of his niece 
about her altered prospects. He told me, however, that 
he felt the confidence of his soul in no wise shaken. " I 
am," said he, " like one lying far on the shores of Eter- 
nity, thrown there by the waters of the world, and whom 
a high and strong wave reaches once more and overflows. 
One may be pardoned a sudden dullness and heart-flut- 
tering. — After all," he continued, " only consider what 
an easy end mine is, comparatively with that of many 
others ! How very — very thankful should I be for such 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 85 

an easy exit as mine seems likely to be ! God be thanked 
that I have to endure no such agonies of horror and re- 
morse as !" (alluding to Mr , whom I was then 

attending, and whose case I had mentioned on a former 

occasion to Mr E , the one described in a former part 

of this Diary, under the title, — A Man about Town) — 
" that I am writhing under no accident — that I have not 
to struggle with utter destitution ! — Why am I not left, 
to perish in a prison ? — to suffer on a scaffold ? — to be 
plucked suddenly into the presence of my Maker in bat- 
tle, * *. with all my sins upon my head ?' Suppose I were 
grovelling in the hopeless darkness of scepticism or in- 
fidelity? Suppose I were still to endure the agonies 
arising from disease in my spine ? — Oh God !" exclaim- 
ed Mr E , " give me a more humble and grateful 

heart !" 

Monday, XQih September. — Mr E is still alive, 

to the equal astonishment of Dr D and myself. The 

secret must lie, I think, in his tranquil frame of mind. 
He is as happy as the day is long ! Oh, that my latter 
days may be like his ! I was listening with feelings of 

delight unutterable to E 's description of the state 

of his mind — the perfect peace he felt towards all man- 
kind, and his humble and strong hopes of happiness here- 
after, — when the landlady of the house knocked at the 

door, and, on entering, told Mr E that a person was 

down stairs very anxious to see him. " Who is it ?" in- 
quired E She did not know. " Has he ever been 

here before ?" — " No ;" but she thought she had several 
times seen him about the neighbourhood. — " What sort 

* This was at the time of the Peninsular Campaigns . 



86 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

of a person is he ?" inquired E , with a surprised air. 

— " Oh, he is a tall pale man, in a brown great-coat." 

E requested her to go down and ask his name. She 

returned and said, " Mr H , sir." E , on hear- 
ing her utter the word, suddenly raised himself in bed ; 
the little colour he had fled from his cheeks : he lifted 
up his hands and exclaimed, — " What can the unhappy 
man want with me ?" He paused thoughtfully for a few 
moments. " You're of course aware who this is ?" he 
inquired of me in a whisper. I nodded. " Shew him 
up stairs," said he, and the woman withdrew. I helped 
hastily to remove him from his bed to an arm-chair near 
the fire. " For your own sake," said I hurriedly — " I 

beg you to be calm ; don't allow your feelings" 

I was interrupted by the door opening, and just such 

a person as Mrs had described entered, with a slow 

hesitating step, into the room. He held his hat squeezed 
in both his hands, and he stood for a few moments mo- 
tionless, just within the door, with his eyes fixed on the 

floor. In that posture he continued till Mrs had 

retired, shutting the door after her, when he turned sud- 
denly towards the easy-chair by the fire, in which Mr 
E was sitting, much agitated — approached and fall- 
ing down on his knees, covered his eyes with his hands, 
through which the tears presently fell like rain ; and after 
many sobs and sighs, he faltered, " Oh, Mr E !" 

" What do you want with me, Mr H ?" inquired 

Mr E , in a low tone, but very calmly. 

" Oh, kind, good, abused sir ! I have behaved like a 
villain to you" 

" Mr H , I beg you will not distress me ; consi- 
der I am in a very poor and weak state." 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 87 

" Don't, for God's sake, speak so coldly, sir. I am 
heartbroken to think how shamefully I have used you !" 

" Well, then, strive to amend" 

" Oh, dear, good Mr E ! can you forgive me ?" 

Mr E did not answer. I saw he could not. The 

tears were nearly overflowing. The man seized his hand, 
and pressed it to his lips with fervency. 

" Rise, Mr H , rise ! I do forgive you, and I hope 

that God will ! Seek His forgiveness, which will avail 
you more than mine 1" 

" Oh, sir!" exclaimed the man, again covering his eyes 
with his hands, — " How very — very ill you look — how 
pale and thin ! — It's / that have done it all — I, the 

d -dest" 

" Hush, hush, sir !" exclaimed Mr E with more 

sternness than I had ever seen him exhibit, "do not curse 
in a dying man's room." 

" Dying — dying — dying, sir !" exclaimed the man, 
hoarsely, staring horror-struck at Mr E , and retir- 
ing a step from him. 

" Yes, James," replied E , mildly, calling him for 

the first time by his Christian name, " I am assuredly 
dying — but not through you, or any thing you have done. 
Come, come, don't distress yourself unnecessarily," he 
continued in the kindest tones ; for he saw the man con- 
tinued deadly pale, speechless, and clasping his hands 
convulsively over his breast, — " Consider, James, the 

death of my daughter, Mrs " 

" Oh, no, no, no, sir — no ! It's I that have done it 
all ; my ingratitude has broken your heart — I know it 

has ! What will become of me ?" — the man resumed, 

still staring vacantly at Mr E . 



88 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

" James, T must not be agitated in this way — it de- 
stroys me — you must leave the room, unless you can be- 
come calm. What is done, is done ; and if you really 
repent of it" . 

" Oh ! I do, sir ; and could almost weep tears of blood 
for it ! But, indeed, sir, it has been as much my mis- 
fortune as my fault." 

" Was it your misfortune, or your fault, that you kept 
that infamous woman on whom you have squandered so 
much of your property — of mine, rather ?" inquired Mr 
E , with a mild, expostulating air. The man sud- 
denly blushed scarlet, and continued silent. 

" It is right I should tell you that it is your miscon- 
duct which has turned me out, in my old age, from the 
house which has sheltered me all my life, and driven me 
to die in this poor place ! You have beggared my niece, 
and robbed me of all the hard earnings of my life — wrung 
from the sweat of my brow, as you well know, James. 
How could your heart let you do all this ?" The man 
made him no answer. " I am not angry with you — 
that is past ; but I am grieved — disappointed — shocked 
— to find my confidence in you has been so much abused." 

" Oh, sir, I don't know what it was that infatuated 
me ; but — never trust a living man again, sir — never," 
replied the man vehemently. 

" It is not likely that I shall, James — I shall not have 

the opportunity," said Mr E , calmly. The man's 

eye continued fixed on Mr E , his lip quivered, in 

spite of his violent compression, and the fluctuating co- 
lour in his cheeks showed the agitation he was suffering. 

" Do you forgive me, sir, for what I have done ?" he 
asked almost inaudibly. 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 89 

" Yes — if you promise to amend — yes ! Here is my 
hand — I do forgive you, as I hope for my own forgive- 
ness hereafter !" said Mr E , reaching out his hand. 

" And if your repentance is sincere, remember, should 
it ever be in your power, whom you have most heavily 

wronged, not me, but — but — Miss E , my poor niece. 

If you should ever be able to make her any reparation" 
the tears stood in Mr E 's eyes, and his emo- 
tions prevented his completing the sentence. " Really, 
you must leave me, James — you must — I am too weak 
to bear this scene any longer," said E , faintly, look- 
ing deadly pale. 

" You had better withdraw, sir, and call some other 
time," said I. He rose, looking almost bewildered ; thrust 
his hand into his breast pocket, and taking out a small 

packet, laid it hurriedly on Mr E 's lap — snatched 

his hand to his lips, and murmuring, " Farewell, farewell, 
best — most injured of men !" withdrew. I watched him 
through the window ; and saw that as soon as he had left 
the house, he set off, running almost at the top of his 

speed. When I returned to look at Mr E , he had 

fainted. He had opened the packet, and a letter lay open 
in his lap, with a great many bank-notes. The letter 
ran as follows : — " Injured and revered sir *, — When 
you read this epistle, the miserable writer will have fled 
from his country, and be on his way to America. He 
has abused the confidence of one of the greatest and best 

* " Vous que je venere et que j'ai tant outrage" — says the French 
Translator ; addingin an amusing note — " Revered and much injured 
sir. Cette expression pathetique et simple n'a point de correlatif en 
francais — Revere et tres-offense monsieur," Sfc. 



90 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

of men, but hopes the enclosed sum will show he repented 
what he had done ! If it is ever in his power he will do 
more. J H " The packet contained bank- 
notes to the amount of £ 3000. When E had re- 
covered from his swoon, I had him conveyed to bed, 
where he lay in a state of great exhaustion. He scarce- 
ly spoke a syllable during the time I continued with him. 

Tuesday. — Mr E— — still suffers from the effects of 
yesterday's excitement. It has, I am confident, hurried 
him far on his journey to the grave. He told me he had 
been turning over the affair in his mind, and considered 
that it would be wrong in him to retain the £ 3000, as 
it would be illegal, and a fraud on H 's other credi- 
tors ; and this upright man had actually sent in the morn- 
ing for the solicitor to the bankrupt's assignees, and put 
the whole into his hands, telling him of the circumstan- 
ces under which he had received it, and asking him whe- 
ther he should not be wrong in keeping it. The law- 
yer told him that he might perhaps be legally, but not 
morally wrong, as the law certainly forbade such pay- 
ments ; and yet he was by very far the largest creditor. 

" Let me act rightly, then," said Mr E , " in the 

sight of God and man ! Take the money, and let me 
come in with the rest of the creditors." — Mr with- 
drew. He must have seen but seldom such an instance 
of noble conscientiousness ! I remonstrated with Mr 
E " No, no, Doctor," he replied, " I have endea- 
voured strictly to do my duty during life — I will not 
begin roguery on my deathbed !" 

" Possibly you may not receive a penny in the pound, 
Mr E ," said I. 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 91 

" But I shall have the comfort of quitting life with a 
clear conscience !" 

# * * * * 

Monday — (a week afterwards) — The " weary wheels 
of life" will soon " stand still !" All is calm and serene 

with E as a summer evening's sunset ! He is at 

peace with all the world, and with his God. It is like 
entering the porch of heaven, and listening to an angel, 
to visit and converse with E . This morning he re- 
ceived the reward of his noble conduct in the matter of 

H 's bankruptcy. The assignees have wound up the 

affairs, and found them not nearly so desperate as had 
been apprehended. The business was still to be carried 

on in H 's name ; and the solicitor, who had been sent 

for by E to receive the £ 3000 in behalf of the as- 
signees, called this morning with a cheque for £3500, 
and a highly complimentary letter from the assignees. 
They informed him that there was every prospect of the 
concern's yet discharging the heavy amount of his claim, 
and that they would see to its being paid to whomsoever 

he might appoint. H had set sail for America the 

very day he had called on E , and had left word that 

he should never return. E altered his will this even- 
ing, iu the presence of myself and Dr D . He left 

about £4000 to his niece, " and whatever sums might 

be from time to time paid in from H 's business ;" 

five guineas for a yearly prize to the writer of the best 
summary of the progress of philosophy every year, in 
one of the Scotch colleges ; and ten pounds to be deliver- 
ed every Christmas to ten poor men, as long as they lived, 
and who had already received the gratuity for several 
years ; " and to J H , my full and hearty for- 



92 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

giveness, and prayers to God that he may return to a 
course of virtue and true piety, before it is too late." 

* * * " How is it," said he, addressing Dr D 

and me, " that you have neither of you said any thing 
to me about examining my body after my decease ?" 

Dr D replied, that he had often thought of asking 

his permission, but had kept delaying from day to day. 

" Why?" inquired E , with a smile of surprise; " do 

you fancy I have any silly fears or prejudices on the 
subject, — that I am anxious about the shell when the 
kernel is gone ? I can assure you that it would rather 
give me pleasure than otherwise, to think that, by an ex- 
amination of my body, the cause of medical science might 
be advanced, and so I might minister a little to my spe- 
cies. I must, however, say you nay ; for I promised 
my poor wife that I would forbid it. She had preju- 
dices, and I have a right to respect them." 

Wednesday. — He looked much reduced this evening. 
I had hurried to his lodgings, to communicate what I 
considered would be the gratifying intelligence, that the 
highest prize of a foreign learned society had just been 

awarded him, for his work on , together with a 

fellowship. My hurried manner somewhat discomposed 
him ; and before I had communicated my news, he ask- 
ed, with some agitation, " What ! — Some new misfor- 
tune?" — When I had told him my errand, — "Oh, bubble! 
bubble I bubble !" he exclaimed, shaking his head with a 
melancholy smile, " would I not give a thousand of these 
for a poor man's blessing ? Are these, these, the trifles 
men toil through a life for ? — Oh, if it had pleased God 
to give me a single glimpse of what 1 now see, thirty years 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 93 

ago, how true an estimate I should have formed of the 
littleness — the vanity — of human applause ! How much 
happier would my end have been ! How much nearer 
should I have come to the character of a true philoso- 
pher — an impartial, independent, sincere searcher after 
truth, for its own sake !" 

" But honours of this kind are of admirable service to 
science, Mr E ," said I, " as supplying strong incen- 
tives and stimulants to a pursuit of philosophy." 

" Yes — but does it not argue a defect in the consti- 
tution of men's minds to require them ? What is the use 
of stimulants in medicine, Doctor ? Don't they presup- 
pose a morbid sluggishness in the parts they are applied 
to ? Do you ever stimulate a healthy organ ? — So is it 
with the little honours and distinctions we are speaking 
of. Directly a man becomes anxious about obtaining 
them, his mind has lost its healthy tone — its sympathies 
with truth — with real philosophy." 

" Would you, then, discourage striving for them ? 
Would you banish honours and prizes from the scienti- 
fic world ?" 

" Assuredly — altogether — did we but exist in a bet- 
ter state of society than we do. * * What is the 
proper spirit in which, as matters at present stand, a phi- 
losopher should accept of honours ? — Merely as eviden- 
ces, testimonials, to the multitude of those who are other- 
tvise incapable of appreciating his merits, and would set 
him down as a dreamer — a visionary — but that they saw 
the estimation in which he was held by those who are 
likely to canvas his claims strictly. They compel the 
deference, if not respect, of the «< voXXoi. A philosopher 
ought to receive them, therefore, as it were, in self 



94 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

defence — a shut-mouth to babbling envious gainsayers. 
Were all the world philosophers, in the true sense of the 
word, not merely would honours be unnecessary, but an 
insult— a reproach. Directly a philosopher is conscious 
that the love of fame, the ambition to secure such distinc- 
tions, is gradually interweaving itself with the very tex- 
ture of his mind, — that such considerations are becom- 
ing necessary in any degree to prompt him to undertake 
or prosecute scientific pursuits, — he may write ichabod 
on the door of his soul's temple, for the glory is depart- 
ed. His motives are spurious, his fires false ! To the 
exact extent of the necessity for such motives is, as it 
were, the pure ore of his soul adulterated. Minerva's 
jealous eyes can detect the slightest vacillation or incon- 
sistency in her votaries, and discover her rival even be- 
fore the votary himself is sensible of her existence ; and 
withdraws from her faithless admirer, in cold disdain, 
perhaps never to return. 

" Do you think that Archimedes, Plato, or Sir Isaac 
Newton, would have cared a straw for even royal ho- 
nours ? The true test, believe me — the almost infallible 
criterion of a man's having attained to real greatness of 
mind — to the true philosophic temper, is, his indiffer- 
ence to all sorts of honours and distinctions. Why 
— what seeks he — or at least professes to seek — but 
Truth ? Is he to stop in the race, to look with Ata- 
lanta after the golden apples ? 

" He should endure honours, not go out of his way to 
seek them. If one apple hitch in his vest, he may car- 
ry it with him, not stop to dislodge it. Scientific dis- 
tinctions are absolutely necessary in the present state of 
society, because it is defective. A mere ambitious struggle 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 96 

for college honours, through rivalry, has induced many 
a man to enter so far upon philosophical studies, as that 
their charms, unfolding in proportion to his progress, 
have been, of themselves, at last sufficient to prevail up- 
on him to go onwards — to love Science for herself alone. 
Honours make a man open his eyes, who would else have 
gone to his grave with them shut : and when once he 
has seen the divinity of truth, he laughs at obstacles, and 
follows it, through evil and through good report — if his 
soul be properly constituted — if it have any of the no- 
bler sympathies of our nature. That is my homily on 

honours," said E , with a faint smile. " I have not 

wilfully preached and practised different things, I assure 
you," he continued, with a modest air, " but through life 
have striven to act upon these principles. Still, I never 
saw so clearly as at this moment how small my success 
has been — to what an extent I have been influenced by 
undue motives — as far as an over-valuing of the world's 
honours may be so considered. Now, methinks, I see 
through no such magnifying medium ; the mists and va- 
pours are dispersing ; and I begin to see that these ob- 
jects are in themselves little, even to nothingness. The 
general retrospect of my life is far from satisfactory," 

continued E , with a sigh, " and fills me with real 

sorrow !" — " Why ?" I inquired, with surprise. " Why, 
for this one reason, — because I have in a measure sacri- 
ficed my religion to philosophy ! Oh — will my Maker 
thus be put off with the mere lees — the refuse — of my 
time and energies ? For one hour in the day, that I have 
devoted to Him, have I not given twelve or fourteen to 
my own pursuits? What shall I say of this shortly — in a 
few hours — perhaps moments — when I stand suddenly 



96 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

in the presence of God — when I see Him face to face ! 
Oh, Doctor ! my heart sinks and sickens at the thought ! 
Shall I not be speechless as one of old ?" 

I told him I thought he was unnecessarily severe with 
himself — that he " wrote bitter things against himself." 

" I thought so once, nay, all my life — myself — Doc- 
tor" — said he, solemnly — " but, mark my words, as those 
of a dying man — you will think as I do now when you 
come to be in my circumstances !" 

The above, feebly conveyed perhaps to the reader, 
may be considered " the last words of a philoso- 
pher !" * They made an impression on my mind which 
has never been effaced ; and I trust never will. The 

reader need not suspect Mr E of " prosing." The 

sentiments I have here endeavoured to record, were ut- 
tered with no pompous pedantry of manner, but with 
the simplest, most modest air, and in the most silvery 
tones of voice I ever listened to. He often paused, from 
faintness : and, at the conclusion, his voice grew almost 
inaudible, and he wiped the thick-standing dews from 
his forehead. He begged me, in a low whisper, to kneel 
down, and read him one of the church prayers — the one 
appointed for those in prospect of death : I took down 
the prayer-book, and complied, though my emotions 
would not suffer me to speak in more than an often-in- 
terrupted whisper. He lay perfectly silent throughout, 
with his clasped hands pointing upwards ; and, when 
I had concluded, he responded feebly, but fervently, 
" Amen — Amen !" — and the tears gushed down his 

* " Les dernieres paroles du philosophe furent consacrees a com- 
battre ce systeme qui change l'arene scientifique en une arene de gla- 
diateurB," &c. — French Translation. 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 97 

cheeks. My heart was melted within me. The silk cap 
had slipped from his head, and his long loose silvery hair 
streamed over his bed-dress : his appearance was that of 
a dying prophet of old ! 

I fear, however, that I am going on at too great length 
for the reader's patience, and must pause. For my own 
part, I could linger over the remembrances of these so- 
lemn scenes for ever : but I shall hasten on to the " last 
scene of all." It did not take place till near a fortnight 
after the interview above narrated. His manner during 
that time evinced no tumultuous ecstasies of soul ; none 
of the boisterous extravagance of enthusiasm. His de- 
parture was like that of the sun, sinking gradually and 
finally, lower — lower — lower — no sudden upflashings — 
no quivering — no flickering unsteadiness about his fad- 
ing rays ! 

Tuesday, 1 3th October. — Miss E sent word that 

her uncle appeared dying, and had expressed a wish to 

see both Dr D and me. I therefore despatched a 

note to Dr D , requesting him to meet me at a cer- 
tain place, and then hurried through my list of calls, so 
as to have finished by three o'clock. By four we were 

both in the room of the dying philosopher. Miss E 

sat by his bedside, her eyes swollen with weeping, and 
was in the act of kissing her uncle's cheek when we en- 
tered. Mr F , an exemplary clergyman, who had 

been one of E 's earliest and dearest friends, sat at 

the foot of the bed, with a copy of Jeremy Taylor's Holy 
Living and Dying, from which he was reading in a low 

tone, at the request of E The appearance of the 

latter was very interesting. At his own instance, he had 

VOL. II. o 



98 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

not long before been shaved, washed, and had a change 
of linen ; and the bed was also but recently made, and 
was not at all tumbled or disordered. The mournful 
tolling of the church bell for a funeral was also heard at 
intervals, and added to the solemnity of the scene. I 
have seldom felt in such a state of excitement as I was 
on first entering the room. He shook hands with each 
of us, or rather we shook his hands, for he could hardly 
lift them from the bed. " Well — thank you for coming 
to bid me farewell !" said he, with a smile ; adding pre- 
sently, " Will you allow Mr F to proceed with what 

he is reading ?" Of course we nodded, and sat in silence, 

listening. I watched E 's features ; they were much 

wasted — but exhibited no traces of pain. His eye, 
though rather sunk in the socket, was full of the calm- 
ness and confidence of unwavering hope, and often di- 
rected upwards, with a devout expression. A most hea- 
venly serenity was diffused over his countenance. His 
lips occasionally moved, as if in the utterance of prayer. 

When Mr F had closed the book, the first words 

uttered by E were, " Oh ! the infinite goodness of 

God !" 

" Do you feel that your ' anchor is within the veil ?' " 
inquired F 

" Oh ! — yes — yes ! — My vessel is steadily moored — 
the tide of life goes fast away — I am forgetting that I 
ever sailed on its sea !" replied E , closing his eyes. 

" The star of faith shines clearest in the night of ex- 
piring nature !" exclaimed F . 

" The Sun — the Sun of faith, say rather," replied 

E , in a tone of fervent exultation ; " it turns my 

night into day — it warms my soul — it rekindles my ener- 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 99 

jjies ! — Sun — Sun of Righteousness !" he exclaimed, 

faintly. Miss E kissed him repeatedly with deep 

emotion. " Emma, my love !" he whispered, " hope 
thou in God ! See how he will support thee in death !" 
— She burst into tears. — " Will you promise me, love, 
to read the little Bible I gave you, when I am gone— 
especially the New Testament ? — Do — do, love." 

" I will — I" , replied Miss E , almost choked 

with her emotions. She could say no more. 

" Dr ," he addressed me, " I feel more towards 

you than I can express ; your services — services " 

lie grew very pale and faint. I rose and poured out a 
glass of wine, and put it to his lips. He drank a few 
teaspoonfuls, and it revived him. 

" Well !" he exclaimed, in a stronger voice than I had 
before heard him speak. " I thank God I leave the 
world in perfect peace with all mankind ! There is but 
one thing that grieves me, in these my last thoughts on 
life, — the general neglect of religion among men of sci- 
ence." Dr D said it must afford him great conso- 
lation to reflect on the steadfast regard for religion which 
lie himself had always evidenced. " No, no — I have 
gone nearly as far astray as any of them : but God's rod 
has brought me back again. I thank God devoutly, that 
He ever afflicted me as I have been afflicted through 
life — He knows I do !" * * * Some one mention- 
ed the prevalence of Materialism. He lamented it bit- 
terly ; but assured us that several of the most eminent 
men of the age — naming them — believed firmly in the 
immateriality and immortality qf the human soul. 

" Do you feel firmly convinced of it — on natural and 
philosophical grounds ?" inquired Dr D 



100 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

" I do ; and have, ever since I instituted an inquiry 
on the subject. / think the difficulty is to believe the 
reverse — when it is owned on all hands, that nothing in 
Nature's changes suggests the idea of annihilation. I 
own that doubts have very often crossed my mind on 
the subject — but could never see the reason of them !" 

" But your confidence does not rest on the barren 
grounds of reason," said I ; " you believe Him who 
brought ' life and immortality' into the world." 

" Yes — ' Thanks be to God, who giveth us the vic- 
tory through our Lord Jesus Christ !' " 

" Do you never feel a pang of regret at leaving life ?" 
I inquired. 

" No, no, no !" he replied with emphasis ! "life and 

I are grown unfit for each other ! My sympathies, my 

hopes, my joys, are too large for it! Why should I, just 

got into the haven, think of risking shipwreck again ?" 

***** 

He lay still for nearly twenty minutes without speak- 
ing. His breathing was evidently accomplished with 
great difficulty ; and when his eyes occasionally fixed 
on any of us, we perceived that their expression was al- 
tered. He did not seem to see what he looked at. I 
noticed his fingers, also, slowly twitching or scratching 
the bed-clothes. Still the expression of his features was 
calm and tranquil as ever. He was murmuring some- 
thing in Miss E 's ear ; and she whispered to us, that 

he said, " Don't go — / shall want you at six." With- 
in about a quarter of six o'clock, he inquired where Em- 
ma was, and Dr D , and Mr F , and myself. 

We severally answered, that we sat around him. 



THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 101 

" I have not seen you for the last twenty minutes. 
Shake hands with me !" We did. " Emma, my sweet 
love ! put your arm round my neck — I am cold, very 
cold." Her tears fell fast on his face. " Don't cry, 
love, don't — I am quite happy ! God — God bless you, 
love !" 

His lower jaw began to droop a little. 

Mr F , moved almost to tears, rose from his chair, 

and noiselessly kneeled down beside him. 

" Have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ !" he exclaim- 
ed, looking steadfastly into his face. 

" I do !" he answered distinctly, while a faint smile 
stole over his drooping features. 

" Let us pray !" whispered Mr F ; and we all 

knelt down in silence. I was never so overpowered in 
my life. I thought I should have been choked with sup- 
pressing my emotions. " O Lord our heavenly Father !" 

commenced Mr F , in a low tone, " receive Thou 

the spirit of this our dying brother" E slow- 
ly elevated his left hand, and kept it pointing upwards 
for a few moments, when it suddenly dropped, and a 
long, deep respiration announced that this great and 
good man had breathed his last ! 

No one in the room spoke or stirred for several mi- 
nutes ; and I almost thought I could hear the beatings 
of our hearts. He died within a few moments of six 
o'clock. Yes — there lay the sad effigy of our deceased 
" guide, philosopher, and friend," — and yet, why call it 
sad ? I could detect no trace of sadness in his features. 
He had left the world in peace and joy ; he had lived 
well, and died as he had lived. I can now appreciate 



102 THE MARTYR PHILOSOPHER. 

the force of that prayer of one of old — " Let me die the 
death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his !" 



There was some talk among his friends of erecting 
a tablet to his memory in Westminster Abbey ; but it 
has been dropped. We soon lose the recollection of de- 
parted excellence if it require any thing like active ex- 
ertion. 



( 103 ) 



CHAPTER III. 



THE STATESMAN. 



Ambition ! — Its sweets and bitters — its splendidinise- 
ries — its wrinkling cares — its wasting agonies — its tri- 
umphs and downfalls — who has not, in some degree, 
known and felt them ? Moralists, historians, and nove- 
lists, have filled libraries in picturing their dreary yet 
dazzling details ; nevertheless, Ambition's votaries, or 
rather victims, are as numerous, as enthusiastic, as ever ! 

Such is the mounting quality existing in almost every 
one's breast, that no " Pelion upon Ossa" heapings, and 
accumulations of facts and lessons, can keep it down. 
Fully as I feel the truth of this remark, vain and futile 
though the attempt may prove, I cannot resist the in- 
clination to contribute my mite towards the vast memo- 
rials of Ambition's martyrs ! 

My specific purpose in first making the notes from 
which the ensuing narrative is taken, and in now pre- 
senting it to the public — in thus pointing to the spec- 
tacle of a sun suddenly and disastrously eclipsed while 
blazing at its zenith — is this : To show the steps by 
which a really great mind — an eager and impetuous spi- 



104 THE STATESMAN. 

rit — was voluntarily sacrificed at the shrine of political 
ambition ; foregoing, nay, despising the substantial joys 
and comforts of elegant privacy, and persisting, even to 
destruction, in its frantic efforts to bear up against, and 
grapple with cares too mighty for the mind of man. It 
is a solemn lesson, imprinted on my memory in great 
and glaring characters ; and if I do but succeed in bring- 
ing a few of them before the reader, they may serve at 
least to check extravagant expectations, by disclosing 
the misery which often lies cankering behind the most 
splendid popularity. — If, by the way, I should be found 
inaccurate in my use of political technicalities and allu- 
sions, the reader will be pleased to overlook it, on the 
score of my profession. 

I recollect, when at Cambridge, overhearing some men 
of my college talk about the " splendid talents of young 

Stafford *," who had lately become a member of 

Hall ; and they said so much about the " great hit" he 
had made in his recent debut at one of the debating so- 
cieties — which then nourished in considerable numbers 
— that I resolved to take the earliest opportunity of go- 
ing to hear and judge for myself. That was soon af- 
forded me. Though not a member of the society, I 
gained admission through a friend. The room was cram- 
med to the very door ; and I was not long in discover- 
ing the " star of the evening" in the person of a young 
fellow-commoner, of careless and even slovenly appear- 
ance. The first glimpse of his features disposed me to 
believe all I had heard in his favour. There was no 
sitting for effect ; nothing artificial about his demean- 

* It can hardly be necessary, I presume, to reiterate, that whatever 
names individuals are indicated by in these papers, are fictitious. 



THE STATESMAN. 105 

our — no careful carelessness of attitude — no knitting of 
the brows, or painful straining of the eyes, to look bril- 
liant or acute ! The mere absence of all these little con- 
ceits and fooleries, so often disfiguring " talented young 
speakers," went, in my estimation, to the account of his 
superiority. His face was " sicklied o'er with the pale 
cast of thought," and its lineaments were very deeply 
and strongly marked. There was a wondrous power 
and fire in the eyes, which gleamed with restless energy 
whichever way he looked. They were neither large nor 
prominent — but all soul — all expression. It was start- 
ling to find their glance suddenly settled on one. His 
forehead, as much as I saw of it, was knotted and ex- 
pansive. There was a prevailing air of anxiety about 
his worn features, young as he was — being then only 
twenty-one — as if his mind were every instant hard at 
work — which an inaccurate observer might have set 
down to the score of ill-nature, especially when coupled 
with the matter-of-fact unsmiling nods of recognition, 
with which he returned the polite inclinations of those 
who passed him. To me, sitting watching him, it seem- 
ed as though his mind were of too intense and energe- 
tic a character to have any sympathies with the small 
matters transpiring around him. I knew his demeanour 
was simple, unaffected, genuine, and it was refreshing 
to see it. It predisposed me to like him, if only for be- 
ing free from the ridiculous airs assumed by some with 
whom I associated. He allowed five or six speakers to 
address the society, without making notes, or joining in 
the noisy exclamations and interruptions of those around 
him. At length he rose amid perfect silence — the si- 
lence of expectant criticism whetted by rivalry. He 



106 THE STATESMAN. 

seemed at first a little flustered, and for about five mi- 
nutes spoke hesitatingly and somewhat unconnected^ 
— with the air of a man who does not know exactly how 
to get at his subject, which he is yet conscious of having 
thoroughly mastered. At length, however, the current 
ran smooth, and gradually widened and swelled into such 
a stream — a torrent of real eloquence — as I never before 
or since heard poured from the lips of a young speaker 
— or possibly any speaker whatsoever, except himself 
in after life. He seemed long disinclined to enhance 
the effect of what he was uttering by oratorical gesture. 
His hands both grasped his cap, which, erelong, was 
compressed, twisted, and crushed out of all shape ; but 
as he warmed, he laid it down, and used his arms, the 
levers of eloquence, with the grace and energy of a na- 
tural orator. The effect he produced was prodigious. 
We were all carried away with him, as if by whirlwind 
force. ' As for myself, I felt for the first time convinced 
that oratory such as that could persuade me to any thing. 
As might have been expected, his speech was fraught 
with the faults incident to youth and inexperience, and 
was pervaded with a glaring hue of extravagance and 
exaggeration. Some of his " facts" were preposterous- 
ly incorrect, and his inferences false ; but there was such 
a prodigious power of language — such a blaze of fancy 
— such a stretch and grasp of thought — and such casu- 
istical dexterity evinced throughout, as indicated the 
presence of first-rate capabilities. He concluded amid 
a storm of applause ; and before his enthusiastic audi- 
tors, whispering together their surprise and admiration, 
could observe his motions, he had slipped away and left 
the room. 



THE STATESMAN. 107 

The excitement into which this young man's '■'■first 
appearance had thrown me, kept me awake the greater 
part of the night ; and I well recollect feeling a transi- 
ent fit of disinclination for the dull and sombre profes- 
sion of medicine, for which I was destined. That even- 
ing's display warranted my indulging high expectations 
of the future eminence of young Stafford ; but I hardly 
went so far as to think of once seeing him Secretary of 
State, and leader of the British House of Commons. 
Accident soon afterwards introduced me to him, at the 
supper-table of a mutual friend. I found him distin- 
guished as well by that simplicity and frankness ever 
attending the consciousness of real greatness, as by the 
recklessness, irritability, impetuosity of one, aware that 
he is far superior to those around him, and in possession 
of that species of talent which is appreciable by all — of 
those rare powers which ensure a man the command over 
his fellows — keen and bitter sarcasm, and extraordinary 
readiness of repartee. Then, again, all his predilections 
were political. He utterly disregarded the popular pur- 
suits at college. Whatever he said, read, or thought, 
had reference to his " ruling passion" — and that not by 
fits and starts, under the arbitrary impulses of rivalry or 
enthusiasm, but steadily and systematically. I knew 
from himself, that before his twenty-third year, he had 
read over, and made notes of the whole of the Parlia- 
mentary debates, and have seen a table which he con- 
structed for reference, on a most admirable and useful 
plan. The minute accuracy of his acquaintance with the 
whole course of political affairs, obtained by such labo- 
rious methods as this, may be easily conceived. His 
powers of memory were remarkable — as well for their 



108 THE STATESMAN. 

capacity as tenacity ; and the presence of mind and judg- 
ment with which he availed himself of his acquisitions, 
convinced his opponent that he had undertaken an ar- 
duous, if not hopeless task, in rising to reply to him. It 
was impossible not to see, even in a few minutes' inter- 
view with him, that Ambition had " marked him for 
her own." Alas ! what a stormy career is before this 
young man ! — I have often thought, while listening to 
his fervid harangues and conversations, and witnessing 
the twin fires of intellect and passion flashing from his 
eyes. One large ingredient in his composition was a 
most morbid sensibility ; and then he devoted himself 
to every pursuit with a headlong, undistinguishing en- 
thusiasm and energy, which inspired me with lively ap- 
prehensions, lest he should wear himself out and fall by 
the way, before he could actually enter on the great 
arena of public life. His forehead was already furrow- 
ed with premature wrinkles ! 

His application was incessant. He rose every morn- 
ing at five, and retired pretty regularly by eleven. 

Our acquaintance gradually ripened into friendship ; 
and we visited each other with mutual frequency and 
cordiality. When he left college, he entreated me to 
accompany him to the Continent, but financial difficul- 
ties, on my part, forbade it. He was possessed of a to- 
lerably ample fortune ; and, at the time of quitting Eng- 
land, was actually in treaty with Sir for a 

borough. I left Cambridge a few months after Mr Staf- 
ford ; and as we were mutually engaged with the ardu- 
ous and absorbing duties of our respective professions, 
we saw and heard little or nothing of one another for 
several years. In the very depth of my distress — du- 



THE STATESMAN. 109 

ring the first four years of my establishment in London 
— I recollect once calling at the hotel which he gene- 
rally made his town, quarters, for the purpose of solicit- 
ing his assistance in the way of introductions ; when, to 
my anguish and mortification, I heard, that on that very 
morning he had quitted the hotel for Calais, on his re- 
turn to the Continent. 

At length Mr Stafford, who had long stood contem- 
plating on the brink, dashed into the tempestuous waters 
of public life, and emerged — a member of Parliament 

for the borough of . I happened to see the gazette 

which announced the event, about two years after the 
occurrence of the accident which elevated me into for- 
tune. I did not then require any one's interference on 
my behalf, being content with the independent exercise 
of my profession ; and even if I had been unfortunate, 
too long an interval had elapsed, I thought, to warrant 
my renewing a mere college acquaintance with such a 
man as Mr Stafford. I was content, therefore, to keep 
barely within the extreme rays of this rising sun in the 
political hemisphere. I shall not easily forget the feel- 
ings of intense interest with which I saw, in one of the 
morning papers, the name of my quondam college friend, 
" Mr Stafford," standing at the fiead of a speech of 
two columns' length — or the delight with which I paused 
over the frequent interruptions of " Hear, hear .'" — 
" Hear, hear, hear J" — " Cheers /" — "Loud Cheers !" 
which marked the speaker's progress in the favour of the 
House. " We regret," said the reporter, in a note at 
the end, " that the noise in the gallery prevented our 
giving at greater length the eloquent and effective maid- 
en speech of Mr Stafford, which was cheered perpetual- 



110 THE STATESMAN. 

ly throughout, and excited a strong sensation in the 
House." In my enthusiasm I did not fail to purchase 
a copy of that newspaper, and have it now in my pos- 
session. It needed not the inquiries which every where 
met me, " Have you read Mr Stafford's maiden speech ?" 
to assure me of his splendid prospects, the reward of his 
early and honourable toils. His " maiden speech" form- 
ed the sole engrossing topic of conversation to my wife 
and me as we sat at supper that evening ; and she was 
asking me some such question as is generally uppermost 
in ladies' minds on the mention of a popular character, 
" What sort of looking man he was when I knew him 
at Cambridge ?" — when a forcible appeal to the knocker 
and bell, followed by the servant's announcing, that " a 
gentleman wished to speak to me directly," brought me 
into my patients' room. The candles, which were on- 
ly just lit, did not enable me to see the person of my 
visitor very distinctly ; but the instant he spoke to me, 
removing a handkerchief which he held to his mouth, I 
recognised — could it be possible ? — the very Mr Staf- 
ford we had been speaking of ! I shook him affection- 
ately by the hand, and should have proceeded to com- 
pliment him warmly on his last evening's success in the 
House, but that his dreadful paleness of features, and 
discomposure of manner, disconcerted me. 

" My dear Mr Stafford, what is the matter ? Are you 
ill ? Has any thing happened ?" I inquired anxiously. 

" Yes, Doctor — perhaps fatally ill," he replied, with 
great agitation. " I thought I would call on you on my 
way from the House, which I have but just left. It is not 
my fault that we have not maintained our college ac- 
quaintance ; but of that more hereafter. I wish your ad- 



THE STATESMAN. Ill 

vice — your honest opinion on my case, For God's sake 
don't deceive me ! Last evening I spoke for the first 
time in the House, at some length, and with all the ener- 
gy I could command. You may guess the consequent 
exhaustion I have suffered during the whole of this day ; 
and this evening, though much indisposed with fever and 
a cough, I imprudently went down to the House, when 
Sir so shamefully misrepresented certain por- 
tions of the speech I had delivered the preceding night, 
that I felt bound to rise and vindicate myself. I was 
betrayed into greater length and vehemence than I had 
anticipated ; and on sitting down, was seized with such 
an irrepressible fit of coughing, as at last forced me to 
leave the House. Hoping it would abate, I walked for 
some time about the lobby— and at length thought it 
better to return home than re-enter the House. While 
hunting after my carriage, the violence of the cough 
subsided into a small, hacking, irritating one, accompa- 
nied with spitting. After driving about as far as White- 
hall, the vivid glare of one of the street lamps happen- 
ed to fall suddenly on my white pocket handkerchief, 
and, O God !" continued Mr Stafford, almost gasping for 
breath, " this horrid sight met my eye !" He spread out 
a pocket handkerchief, all spotted and dabbled with 
blood ! It was with the utmost difficulty that he com- 
municated to me what is gone before. " Oh ! it's all 
over with me — the chapter's ended, I'm afraid !" he mur- 
mured almost inarticulately ; and, while I was feeling his 
pulse, he fainted. I placed him instantly in a recum- 
bent position — loosened his neckerchief and shirt-collar 
— dashed some cold water in his face — and he presently 
recovered. He shook his head, in silence, very mourn- 

2 



i 12 THE STATESMAN. 

fully — his features expressing utter hopelessness. I sat 
down close beside him, and, grasping his hand in mine, 
endeavoured to re-assure him. The answers he returned 
to the few questions I asked him, convinced me that the 
spitting of blood was unattended with danger, provided 
he could be kept quiet in body and mind. There was not 
the slightest symptom of radical mischief in the lungs. 
A glance at his stout build of body, especially at his am- 
ple sonorous chest, forbade the supposition. I explained 
to him, with even professional minuteness of detail, the 
true nature of the accident, its effects, and method of 
cure. He listened to me with deep attention, and at last 
seemed convinced. He clasped his hands, exclaiming, 
" Thank God ! thank God !" and entreated me to do on 
the spot, what I had directed to be done by the apothe- 
cary, — to bleed him. I complied, and from a large ori- 
fice took a considerable quantity of blood. I then ac- 
companied him home — saw him consigned to bed — pre- 
scribed the usual lowering remedies — absolutely forbade 
him to open his lips, except in the slightest whisper pos- 
sible ; and left him calm, and restored to a tolerable 
measure of self-possession. 

One of the most exquisite sources of gratification, ari- 
sing from the discharge of our professional duties, is the 
disabusing our patients of their harrowing and ground- 
less apprehensions of danger. One such instance as is 
related above, is to me an ample recompense for months 
of miscellaneous, and often thankless toil, in the exer- 
cise of my profession. Is it not, in a manner, plucking 
a patient from the very brink of the grave, to which he 
had despairingly consigned himself, and placing him once 
more in the busy throng of life — the very heart of so- 
4 



THE STATESMAN. 113 

ciety ? I have seen men of the strongest intellect and 
nerve, — whom the detection of a novel and startling 
symptom has terrified into giving themselves up for lost, 
— in an instant dispossessed of their apprehensions, by 
explaining to them the real nature of what has alarmed 
them. * The alarm, however, occasioned by the rup- 
ture of a bloodvessel in or near the lungs, is seldom un- 
warranted, although it may be excessive ; and though 
we can soon determine whether or not the accident is in 
the nature of a primary disease, or symptomatic of some 
incurable pulmonary affection, and dissipate or corrobo- 
rate our patient's apprehensions accordingly, it is no 
more than prudent to warn one who has once experien- 
ced this injury, against any exertions or excesses which 
have a tendency to interfere with the action of the lungs, 
by keeping in sight the possibility of a fatal relapse. To 
return, however, to Mr Stafford. 

His recovery was tardier than I could have expected. 
His extraordinary excitability completely neutralized the 

• One instance presses so strongly on my recollection, that I cannot 
help adverting to it : — I was one day summoned in haste to an eminent 
merchant in the city, who thought he had grounds for apprehending oc- 
casion for one of the most appalling operations known in surgery. When 
I arrived, on finding the case not exactly within my province, I was 
going to leave him in the hands of a surgeon ; but seeing that his alarm 
had positively half maddened him, I resolved to give him what assist- 
ance I could. I soon found that his fears were chimerical ; but he would 
not believe me. When, however, I succeeded in convincing him, that 
" all was yet right with him," by referring the sensations which had 
alarmed him to an unperceived derangement of his dress, tongue can- 
not utter, nor I ever forget, the ecstasy with which he at last " gave 
to the winds his fears." He insisted on my accepting one of the lar- 
gest fees that had ever been tendered me. 

VOL. II. H 



114 THE STATESMAN. 

effect of my lowering and calming system of treatment. 
I could not persuade him to give his mind rest ; and the 
mere glimpse of a newspaper occasioned such a flutter 
and agitation of spirits, that I forbade them altogether 
for a fortnight. I was in the habit of writing my pre- 
scriptions in his presence, and pausing long over them 
for the purpose of unsuspectedly observing him ; and 
though he would tell me that his " mind was still as a 
stagnant pool," his intense air, his corrugated brows and 
fixed eyes, evinced the most active exercise of thought. 
When in a sort of half-dozing state, he would often mut- 
ter about the subjects nearest his heart. " Ah ! must go 

out — the Bill, their touchstone — aye — though 

and his Belial-tongue." 

******* 

" 'Tis cruel — 'tis tantalizing, Doctor," he said one 
morning, " to find one's self held by the foot in this way, 
like a chained eagle ! The world forgets every one that 
slips for a moment from public view. Alas, alas ! my 
plans — my projects — are all unravelling !" — " Thy sun, 
young man, may go down at noon !" I often thought, 
when reflecting on his restless and ardent spirit. He 
wanted case-hardening — long physical training, to fit 
him for the harassing and exhausting campaign on which 
he had entered. Truly, truly, your politician should have 
a frame of adamant, and a mind " thereto conforming 
strictly." He should be utterly inaccessible to emotion 
— and especially to the finer feelings of our nature, since 
there is no room for their exercise. He should forget 
his heart, his family, his friends — every thing except his 
own interest and ambition. It should be with him as 
with a consummate intriguer of old, — 



THE STATESMAN. 115 

No rest, no breathing time had he, or lack'd 

Lest from the slippery steep he suddenly 
Might fall. Of every joy forgetful quite, 

Life's softness had no charm for him 

His object sole 

To cheat the silly world of her applause — his eye 
Fix'd with stern steadfastness upon the Star 
That shed but madness on him. 



I found Mr Stafford one day in high chafe about a 
sarcastic allusion in the debate to a sentiment which he 
had expressed in Parliament — " Oh ! — one might wither 
that fellow with a word or two, the stilted noodle !" said 
he, pointing to the passage, while his eye glanced like 
lightning. 

" You'll more likely wither your own prospects of ever 
making the trial, if you don't moderate your exertions," 
I replied. He smiled incredulously, and made me no 
answer, but continued twisting about his pencil-case with 
a rapidity and energy which showed the high excitement 
under which he was labouring. His hard, jerking, irre- 
gular pulse, beating on the average a hundred a-minute, 
excited my lively apprehensions, lest the increased ac- 
tion of the heart should bring on a second fit of blood- 
spitting. I saw clearly that it would be in vain for him 
to court the repose essential to his convalescence, so long 
as he continued in town ; and, with infinite difficulty,, 
prevailed on him to betake himself to the country. We 
wrung a promise from him that he would set about " un- 
bending" — " unharnessing," as he called it — that he 
would give " his constitution fair play." He acknow- 
ledged that, to gain the objects he had proposed to him- 
self, it was necessary for him " to husband his resour- 



116 THE STATESMAN. 

ces ;" and briskly echoed my quotation — " neque sem- 
per arcum tendit Apollo." In short, we dismissed him 
in the confident expectation of seeing him return, after 
a requisite interval, with recruited energies of body and 
mind. He had scarcely, however, been gone a fortnight, 
before a paragraph ran the round of the daily papers, 
announcing, as nearly ready for publication, a political 
pamphlet, " by Charles Stafford, Esq. M. P. ;" — and in 
less than three weeks — sure enough — a packet was for- 
warded to my residence, from the publisher, containing 
my rebellious patient's pamphlet, accompanied with the 
following hasty note : — " Ao-*?m?r« — Even with you ! — 
you did not, you will recollect, interdict writing ; and 
I have contrived to amuse myself with the accompany- 
ing trifle. — Please look at page , and see the kind 

things I have said of poor Lord , the worthy who 

attacked me the other evening in the House, behind my 
back." This " trifle" was in the form of a pamphlet of 
sixty-four pages, full of masterly argumentation and im- 
petuous eloquence ; but, unfortunately, owing to the pub- 
lisher's dilatoriness, it came " a day behind the fair," 
and attracted but little attention. 

His temporary rustication, however, was attended with 
at least two beneficial results, — recruited health, and the 

heart of Lady Emma , the beautiful daughter of a 

nobleman remotely connected with Mr Stafford's family. 
This attachment proved powerful enough to alienate him 
for a while from the turmoils of political life ; for not on- 
ly did the beauty, wealth, and accomplishments of Lady 

Emma render her a noble prize, worthy of great 

effort to obtain, but a powerful military rival had taken 
the field before Mr Stafford made his appearance, and 



THE STATESMAN. 117 

seemed disposed to move heaven and earth to carry her 
off. It is needless to say, how such a consideration was 
calculated to rouse and absorb all the energies of the 
young senator, and keep him incessantly on the qui vive. 
It is said that the lady wavered for some time, uncertain 
to which of her brilliant suitors she should give the nod 
of preference. Chance decided the matter. It came to 
pass that a contested election arose in the county ; and 
Mr Stafford made a very animated and successful speech 
from the hustings — not far from which, at a window, was 
standing Lady Emma — in favour of her ladyship's bro- 
ther, one of the candidates. Jo triumphe ! That happy 
evening the enemy " surrendered at discretion :" and 
ere long it was known far and wide, that — in newspaper 
slang — " an affair was on the tapis," between Mr Staf- 
ford and the " beautiful and accomplished Lady Emma 

," &c. &c. 

It is my firm persuasion, that the diversion in his pur- 
suits effected by this " affair," by withdrawing Mr Staf- 
ford for a considerable interval from cares and anxieties 
which he was physically unable to cope with, lengthen- 
ed his life for many years ; giving England a splendid 
statesman, and this, my Diary, the sad records which are 
now to be laid before the reader. 



One characteristic of our profession, standing, as it 
were, in such sad and high relief, as to scare many a sen- 
sitive mind from entering into its service, is, that it is 
concerned, almost exclusively, with the dark side of hu- 
manity. As carnage and carrion guide the gloomy flight 
of the vulture, so misery is the signal for a medical man's 



118 THE STATESMAN. 

presence. We have to do, daily, with broken hearts, 
blighted hopes, pain, sorrow, death ! And though the 
satisfaction arising from the due discharge of our duties 
be that of the good Samaritan — a rich return — we can- 
not help counting the heavy cost, — aching hearts, wea- 
ry limbs, privations, ingratitude. Dark array ! It may 
be considered placing the matter in a whimsical point of 
view ; yet I have often thought that the two great pro- 
fessions of Law and Medicine are but foul carrion birds, 
— the one preying on the moral, as the other on the phy- 
sical, rottenness of mankind. 

" Those who are well, need not a physician," say the 
Scriptures : and on this ground, it is easy to explain the 
melancholy hue pervading these papers. They are mir- 
rors reflecting the dark colours exposed to them. It is 
true, that some remote relations, arising out of the par- 
ticular combinations of circumstances, first requiring our 
professional interference, may afford, as it were, a pass- 
ing gleam of distant sunshine, in the development of 
some trait of beautiful character, some wondrous " good, 
from seeming ill educed ;" but these are incidental only, 
and evanescent — enhancing, not relieving the gloom and 
sorrow amid which we move. A glimpse of Heaven 
would but aggravate the horrors of Hell ! — These chill- 
ing reflections force themselves on my mind, when sur- 
veying the very many entries in my Diary, concerning 
the eminent individual whose case I am now narrating — 
concerning one who seemed born to bask in the bright- 
ness of life — to reap the full harvest of its joys and com- 
forts, and yet " walked in darkness !" Why should it 
have been so ? Answer, — Ambition .' 



THE STATESMAN. 119 

The reader must hurry on with me through the next 
ten years of Mr Stafford's life, during which period he 
rose with almost unprecedented rapidity. He had hard- 
ly time, as it were, to get warm in his nest, before he 
was called to lodge in the one above him, and then the 
one above that, and so on upwards, till people began to 
view his progress with their hands shading their dazzled 
eyes, while they exclaimed, "fast for the top of the tree !" 
He was formed for political popularity. He had a most 
winning,captivating, commanding style of delivery, which 
was always employed in the steady consistent advocacy 
of one line of principles. The splendour of his talents — 
his tact and skill in debate — the immense extent and ac- 
curacy of his political information — eai'ly attracted the 
notice of ministers, and he was not suffered to wait long 
before they secured his services, by giving him a popu- 
lar and influential office. During all this time, he main- 
tained a very friendly intimacy with me, and often put 
into requisition my professional services. About eight 
o'clock one Saturday evening, I received the following 
note from Mr Stafford : — 

" Dear , excuse excessive haste. Let me entreat 

you (I will hereafter account for the suddenness of this 
application) to make instant arrangements for spending 

with me the whole of to-morrow, (Sunday,) at , and 

to set off from town in time for breakfasting with Lady 
Emma and myself. Your presence is required by most 
urgent and special business ; but allow me to beg you 
will appear at breakfast with an unconcerned air — as a 
chance visitor. Yours always faithfully, 

" C. Stafford." 



120 THE STATESMAN. 

The words " whole" and " special" were thrice under- 
scored ; and this, added to the very unusual illegibility 
of the writing, betrayed an urgency, and even agitation, 
which a little disconcerted me. The abruptness of the 
application occasioned me some trouble in making the 
requisite arrangements. As, however, it was not a busy 
time with me, I contrived to find a substitute for the 
morrow in my friend Dr D . 

It was on a lovely Sabbath morning, in July 18 — , 
that, in obedience to the above hurried summons, I set 
off on horseback from the murky metropolis ; and, after 
rather more than a two hours' ride, found myself enter- 
ing the grounds of Mr Stafford, who had recently pur- 
chased a beautiful villa on the banks of the Thames. It 
was about nine o'clock, and nature seemed but freshly 
awakened from the depth of her overnight's slumbers, her 
tresses all uncurled, as it were, and her perfumed robes 
glistening with the pearls of morning dew. A deep and 
rich repose brooded over the scene, subduing every feel- 
ing of my soul into sympathy. A groom took my horse ; 
and finding that neither Mr Stafford nor Lady Emma 
were yet stirring, I resolved to walk about, and enjoy 
the scenery. In front of the house stretched a fine lawn, 
studded here and there with laurel bushes, and other ele- 
gant shrubs, and sloping down to the river's edge ; and 
on each side of the villa, and behind, were trees disposed 
with the most beautiful and picturesque effect imagin- 
able. Birds were carolling cheerfully and loudly on all 
sides of me, as though they were intoxicated with their 
own " woodland melody." I walked about as amid en- 
chantment, breathing the balminess and fragrance of the 
atmosphere, as the wild horse snuffs the scent of the de- 



THE STATESMAN. 121 

sert. How keenly are Nature's beauties appreciable 
when but rarely seen by her unfortunate admirer, who 
is condemned to a town life! 

I stood on the lawn by the river's edge watching the 
ripple of the retiring tide, pondering within myself 
whether it was possible for such scenes as these to have 
lost all charm for their restless owner. Did he relish or 
tolerate them ? Could the pursuits of ambition have 
blunted — deadened, his sensibilities to the beauty of na- 
ture, the delights of home ? These thoughts were pass- 
ing through my mind, when I was startled by the tap- 
ping of a loose glove over my shoulder ; and on turning 
round, beheld Mr Stafford, in his flowered morning gown, 
and his face partially shaded from the glare of the morn- 
ing sun, beneath a broad-rimmed straw hat. " Good 
morning, Doctor — good morning," said he ; " a thou- 
sand thanks for your attention to my note of last night ; 
but see ! yonder stands Lady Emma, waiting breakfast 
for us," pointing to her ladyship, who was standing at 
the window of the breakfast room. Mr Stafford put his 
arm into mine, and we walked up to the house. " My 

dear sir, what can be the meaning of your" said I 

with an anxious look. 

" Not a word — not a breath — if you please, till we 
are alone after breakfast." 

" Well — you are bent on tantalizing ! — What can be 
the matter ? What is this mountain-mystery ?" 

" It may prove a molehill, perhaps," said he careless- 
ly ; " but we'll see after breakfast." 

" What an enchanting spot you have of it !" I ex- 
claimed, pausing and looking around me. 

" Oh, very paradisaical, I dare say," he replied, with 
an air of indifference that was quite laughable. " By 



122 THE STATESMAN. 

the way," he added, hurriedly, " did, you hear any ru- 
mour about Lord 's resignation late last night ?" — 

" Yes." — " And his successor, is he talked of?" he inquir- 
ed eagerly. " Mr C " — " Mr C ! Is it possi- 
ble ? Ah, ha" he muttered, raising his hand to his 

cheek, and looking thoughtfully downwards. 

" Come, come, Mr Stafford, 'tis now my turn. Do 
drop these eternal politics for a few moments, I beg." — 
" Ay, ay, ' still harping on my daughter !" I'll sink the 
shop, however — for a while, as our town friends say. 
But I really beg pardon, 'tis rude, very. But here we 
are. Lady Emma, Dr ," said he, as we approach- 
ed her ladyship through the opened stained-glass door- 
way. She sat before the breakfast urn, looking, to my 
eyes, as bloomingly beautiful as at the time of her mar- 
riage, though ten summers had waved their silken pinions 
over her head, but so softly as scarcely to flutter or fade 
a feature in passing. Yes, thus she sat in her native 
loveliness and dignity, the airiness of girlhood passed 
away into the mellowed maturity of womanhood ! She 
looked the beau-ideal of simple elegance in her long 
snowy morning dress, her clustering auburn hair sur- 
mounted with a slight gossamer network of blonde — not 
an ornament about her ! I have her figure, even at this 
interval of time, most vividly before me, as she sat on 
that memorable morning, unconscious that the errand 
which made me her guest involved — but I will not an- 
ticipate. She adored, nay idolized, her husband — little 
as she saw of him — and he was in turn as fondly attach- 
ed to her as a man could be, whose whole soul was 
swallowed up in ambition. Yes, he was not the first to 
whom political pursuits have proved a very disease, 
shedding blight and mildew over the heart ! 



THE STATESMAN. 123 

I thought I detected an appearance of restraint in the 
manner of each. Lady Emma often cast a furtive glance 
of anxiety at her husband — and with reason — for his fea- 
tures wore an air of repressed uneasiness. He was now 
and then absent, and, when addressed by either of us, 
would reply with a momentary sternness of manner — 
passing, however, instantly away — which showed that his 
mind was occupied with unpleasant or troubled thoughts. 
He seemed at last aware that his demeanour attracted 
our observation, and took to acting. All traces of an- 
xiety or uneasiness disappeared, and gave place to his 
usual perfect urbanity and cheerfulness. Lady Emma's 
manner towards me, too, was cooler than usual, which I 
attributed to the fact of my presence not having been 
sufficiently accounted for. My embarrassment may be 
easily conceived. 

" What a delicious morning!" exclaimed Lady Emma, 
looking through the window at the fresh blue sky, and 
the cheery prospect beneath. We echoed her sentiments. 
" I think," said I, " that could I call such a little para- 
dise as this mine, I would quit the smoke and uproar of 
London for ever !" — " I wish all thought with you, Dr 

," replied her ladyship with a sigh, looking touch- 

ingly at her husband. 

" What opportunities for tranquil thought !" I went 
on. 

" Ay, and so forth !" said Mr Stafford, gaily. " Listen 
to another son of peace and solitude, my Lord Roscom- 
mon — 

Hail, sacred Solitude ! from this calm bay, 
I view the world's tempestuous sea, 

And with wise pride despise 

All those senseless vanities : 



124 THE STATESMAN. 

With pity moved for others, cast away 
On rocks of hopes and fears, I see them toss'd 
On rocks of folly, and of vice, I see them lost : 
Some the prevailing malice of the great, 

Unhappy men, or adverse fate, 
Sunk deep into the gulfs of an afflicted state : 
But more, far more, a numberless prodigious train, 
Whilst Virtue courts them, but, alas ! in vain, 

Fly from her kind embracing arms, 
Deaf to her fondest call, blind to her greatest charms, 
And, sunk in pleasures and in brutish ease, 
They, in their shipwreck'd state, themselves obdurate please. 

Here may I always on this downy grass, 
Unknown, unseen, my easy moments pass, 
Till, with a gentle force, victorious Death 

My solitude invade, 
And, stopping for a while my breath, 
With ease convey me to a better shade *. 

" There's for you my lady ! Well sung my Lord Ros- 
common ! Beautiful as true !" exclaimed Mr Stafford, 
gaily, as soon as he had concluded repeating the above 
ode, in his own distinct and beautiful elocution, with 
real pathos of manner ; but his mouth and eye betrayed 
that his own mind sympathized not with the emotions 
of the poet, but rather despised the air of inglorious re- 
pose they breathed. The tears were in Lady Emma's 
eyes, as she listened to him ! Presently one of his daugh- 
ters, a fine little girl about six years of age, came sidling 
and simpering into the room, and made her way to her 
mother. She was a lively, rosy, arch-eyed little crea- 

* The French Translator has been at the pains of translating the 
whole of the above poem of Lord Roscommon's verbatim et lite- 
ratim ! 



THE STATESMAN. 125 

ture, and her father looked fondly at her for a moment, 
exclaiming, " Well, Eleanor !" and his thoughts had evi- 
dently soon passed far away. The conversation turned 
on Mr Stafford's reckless, absorbing pursuit of politics, 
which Lady Emma and I deplored, and entreated him 
to give more of his time and affections to domestic con- 
cerns. * * " You talk to me as if I were dying," 
said he, rather petulantly, " why should I not pursue my 
profession — my legitimate profession? — As for your still 
waters — your pastoral simplicities — your Arcadian bliss 
— pray what inducements have I to run counter to my 
own inclinations to cruise what you are pleased to call 
the stormy sea of politics ?" — " What inducements ? — 
Charles, Charles, can't you find them here ?" said his 
lady, pointing to herself and her daughter. Mr Staf- 
ford's eyes filled with tears, even to overflowing, and 
he grasped her hand with affectionate energy, took his 
smiling unconscious daughter on his knee, and kissed her 
with passionate fervour. " Semel insanivimus onmes," 
he muttered to me, a few moments after, as if ashamed 
of the display he had recently made. For my own part, 
I saw that he occasionally lost the control over feelings 
which were, for some reason or other, disturbed and ex- 
cited. What could possibly have occurred ? Strange 
as it may seem, a thought of the real state of matters, 
as they will presently be disclosed, never for an instant 
crossed my mind. I longed — I almost sickened — for the 
promised opportunity of being alone with him. It was 
soon afforded me by the servants appearing at the door, 
and announcing the carriage. 

" Oh dear ! positively prayers will be over !" exclaim- 
ed Lady Emma, rising, and looking hurriedly at her 



126 THE STATESMAN. 

watch, " we've quite forgotten church hours ! do you ac- 
company us, Doctor ?" said she, looking at me. 

" No, Emma," replied Mr Stafford, quickly, " you and 
the family must go alone this morning — I shall stop and 
keep Dr company, and take a walk over the coun- 
try for once." Lady Emma, with an unsatisfied glance 
at both of us, withdrew. Mr Stafford immediately pro- 
posed a walk ; and we were soon on our way to a small 
gothic alcove near the water side. 

" Now, Doctor, to the point," said he abruptly, as soon 
as we were seated. " Can I reckon on a real friend in 
you ?" scrutinizing my features closely. 

" Most certainly you may," I replied, with astonish- 
ment. " What can I do for you ? — Something or other 
is wrong, I fear ! Can / do any thing for you in any 
way ?" 

" Yes," said he deliberately, and looking fixedly at 
me, as if to mark the effect of his words ; " I shall re- 
quire a proof of your friendship soon ; I must have your 
services this evening — at seven o'clock." 

" Gracious Heaven, Mr Stafford ! — why — why — is 
it possible that — do I guess aright?" I stammered almost 
breathless, and rising from my seat. 

" Oh, Doctor — don't be foolish — excuse me — but 
don't — don't, I beg. Pray give me your answer ! I'm 
sure you understand my question." Agitation deprived 
me for a while of utterance. 

" I beg an answer, Dr ," he resumed coldly, " as, 

if you refuse, I shall be very much inconvenienced. 'Tis 
but a little affair — a silly business, that circumstances 
have made inevitable — I'm sure you must have seen a 
hint at it in the last night's papers. Don't misunderstand 



THE STATESMAN. 127 

me," he proceeded, seeing me continue silent ; " I don't 
wish you to take an active part in the business — but to 
be on the spot — and, in the event of any thing unfortunate 
happening to me — to hurry home here, and prepare Lady 

Emma and the family — that is all. Mr G ," — naming 

a well known army surgeon — " will attend profession- 
ally." I was so confounded with the suddenness of the 
application that I could do nothing more than mutter 
indistinctly my regret at what had happened. 

"Well, Doctor .," he continued, in a haughty tone, 

" I find that, after all, I have been mistaken in my man. 
I own I did not expect that this — the first favour I have 
ever asked at your hands, and, possibly, the last — would 
have been refused. But I must insist on an answer one 
way or another; you must be aware I've no time to lose." 

" Mr Stafford — pardon me — you mistake me ! Allow 
me a word ; you cannot have committed yourself rashly in ' 
this affair! Consider Lady Emma — your children" 

" I have — I have," he answered, grasping my hand, 
while his voice faltered, " and I need hardly inform you 
that it is that consideration only which occasions the lit- 
tle disturbance of manner you may have noticed. But 
you are man of the world enough to be aware that I 
must go through with the business. I am not the chal- 
lenger." 

I asked him for the particulars of the affair. It ori- 
ginated in a biting sarcasm which he had uttered, with 
reference to a young nobleman, in the House of Com- 
mons, on Friday evening, which had been construed into 
a personal affront, and for which an apology had been 
demanded, — mentioning the alternative, in terms almost 
approaching to insolence, evidently for the purpose of 
provoking him into a refusal to retract or apologize. 



128 THE STATESMAN. 

" It's my firm persuasion that there is a plot among a 
certain party to destroy me — to remove an obnoxious 
member from the House — and this is the scheme they 
have hit upon ! I have succeeded, I find, in annoying the 

interest beyond measure ; and so they must at all 

events get rid of me ! Ay, this cur of a lordling it is," he 
continued, with fierce emphasis, "who is to make my sweet 

wife a widow, and my children orphans — for Lord * 

is notoriously one of the best shots in the country ! Poor 
— poor Emma !" he exclaimed with a sigh, thrusting his 
hand into his bosom, and looking down dejectedly. We 
neither of us spoke for some time. " Would to Heaven 
we had never been married!" he resumed. " Poor Lady 
Emma leads a wretched life of it, I fear ! But I honest- 
ly warned her that my life would be strewn with thorny 
cares, even to the grave's brink !" 

" So you have really pitched upon this evening — 
Sunday evening, for this dreadful business?" I inquired. 

" Exactly. We must be on the spot by seven pre- 
cisely. I say we, Doctor," he continued, laying his hand 
on mine. I consented to accompany him. " Come, 
now, that's kind ! I'll remember you for it. * * * 
It is now nearly half-past twelve," looking at his watch, 
" and by one, my Lord A ,"f mentioning a well- 
known nobleman, " is to be here ; who is to stand by 
me on the occasion. I wish he were here; for I've added 
a codicil to my will, and want you both to witness my 
signature. * * * I look a little fagged — don't I ?" 
he asked, with a smile. I told him he certainly looked 
rather sallow and worn. " How does our friend walk 

* " Lord Porden!" — French Translator: 
f " Lord Alcock!" — Ditto. 



THE STATESMAN. 129 

his paces ?" he inquired, baring his wrist for me to feel 
his pulse. The circulation was little, if at all disturbed, 
and I told him so. " It would not have been very won- 
derful if it had, I think ; for I've been up half the night 
— till nearly five this morning, correcting the two last 

proof-sheets of my speech on the Bill, which 

is publishing. I think it will read well ; at least I hope 
it will, in common justice to mj^self, for it was most vilely 
curtailed and misrepresented by the reporters. By the 

way — would you believe it ? — Sir 's * speech that 

night was nothing but a hundredth hash of mine which 
I delivered in the House more than eight years ago !" 
said he, with an eager and contemptuous air. I made 
him no reply ; for my thoughts were too sadly occupied 
with the dreadful communication he had recently made 
me. I abhorred, and do abhor and despise duelling, both 
in theory and practice ; and now, to have to be present 
at one, and one in which my friend — such a friend ! — 
was to be a principal. This thought, and a glance at the 
possible, nay, probable, desolation and broken-hearted- 
ness which might follow, was almost too much for me. 
But I knew Mr Stafford's disposition too well to attempt 
expostulation — especially in the evidently morbid state 
of his feelings. 

" Come, come, Doctor, let's walk a little. Your feel- 
ings flag. You might be going to receive satisfaction 
yourself," with a bitter sneer, " instead of seeing it gi- 
ven and taken by others. Come, cheer, cheer up." He 
put his arm in mine, and led me a few steps across the 
lawn, by the water -side. " Dear, dear me !" said he, with 

* " Lord Williams" says the French Translator, instead of 

Sir 

VOL. II. I 



130 THE STATESMAN. 

a chagrined air, pulling out his watch hastily, " I wish 

to Heaven my Lord A would make his appearance. 

I protest her ladyship will have returned from church 
before we have settled our few matters, unless by the 

way, she drives round by Admiral 's, as she talked 

of last night. Oh, my God ! think of my leaving her and 
the girls, with a gay air, as if we parted but for an hour, 
when it may be for ever ! And yet what can one do ?" 
While he was speaking, my eye caught sight of a ser- 
vant making his way towards us rapidly through the 
shrubbery, bearing in his hand a letter, which he put into 
Mr Stafford's hands, saying, a courier had brought it that 
moment, and was waiting to take an answer back to town. 
" Ah — very good — let him wait till I come," said Mr 

Stafford. " Excuse me, Doctor ," bursting open the 

envelope with a little trepidation, and putting it into my 
hands, while he read the enclosed note. The envelope 
bore in one corner the name of the premier, and in the 
other the words " private and confidential," and was 
sealed with the private crest and coronet of the Earl. 

" Great God ! — read it !" exclaimed Mr Stafford, 
thrusting the note before me, and elevating his eyes and 
hands despairingly. Much agitated myself, at witness- 
ing the effect of the communication on my friend, I took 
it, and read nearly as follows : — " My dear Stafford, — 
I had late last night his Majesty's commands to offer you 

the seals of the office, accompanied with the most 

gracious expressions of consideration for yourself per- 
sonally, and his conviction that you will discharge the 
important duties henceforth devolving upon you, with 
honour to yourself, and advantage to his Majesty's coun- 
cils. In all which, I need hardly assure you, I most 



THE STATESMAN. 131 

heartily concur. I beg to add, that I shall feel great pride 
and pleasure in having you for a colleague — and it has 
not been my fault that such was not the case earlier. 
May I entreat your answer by the bearer's return ? as 
the state of public affairs will not admit of delay in fill- 
ing up so important an office. I beg you will believe 

me, ever yours, most faithfully, ." 

Whitehall, Sunday noon, 12 o'clock." 

After hurriedly reading the above, I continued hold- 
ing the letter in my hands, speechlessly gazing at Mr 
Stafford. Well might such a bitter balk excite the tu- 
multuous conflict of passions which the varying features 
of Mr Stafford — now flushed — now pale — too truly evi- 
denced. This dazzling proffer made him only a few hours 
before his standing the fatal fire of an accomplished duel- 
list ! I watched him in silent agony. At length he clasp- 
ed his hands with passionate energy, and exclaimed, 
— " Oh ! madness — madness — madness ! — Just within 
reach of the prize I have run for all my life !" At that 
instant a wherry, full of bedizzened Londoners, passed 
close before us on their way towards Richmond ; and 
I saw by their whispers that they had recognised Mr Staf- 
ford. He also saw them, and exclaimed to me in a tone I 
shall never forget, " Happy, happy fools !" and turned 
away towards the house. He removed his arm from 
mine, and stood pondering for a few moments with his 
eyes fixed on the grass. 

" Doctor, what's to be done ?" — he almost shouted, 
turning suddenly to me, grasping my arm, and staring 
vacantly into my face. I began to fear lest he should 
totally lose the command of himself. 

" For God's sake, Mr Stafford, be calm ! — recollect 



132 THE STATESMAN. 

yourself ! — or madness — ruin — I know not what — is be- 
fore you !" I said in an earnest imploring tone, seeing his 
eye still glaring fixedly upon me. At length he succeeded 
in overmastering his feelings. " Oh ! — folly, folly, this ! 
Inevitable ! — Inevitable !'" he exclaimed in a calmer tone. 
" But the letter must be answered. What can I say, 
Doctor ?" putting his arm in mine, and walking up to 
the house rapidly. We made our way to the library, 
and Mr Stafford sat down before his desk. He opened 
his portfeuille slowly and thoughtfully. " Of course — 
decline ?" said he, with a profound sigh, turning to me 
with his pen in his hand. 

" No — assuredly, it would be precipitate. Wait for 
the issue of this sad business. You may escape." — " No 

— no — no ! My Lord is singularly prompt and 

decisive in all he does — especially in disposing of his 
places. I must — I must — ay" — beginning to write — 
" I must respectfully decline — altogether. But on what 
grounds ? O God ! even should I escape to-day, I am 
ruined for ever in Parliament ! What will become of 
me !" He laid down the pen, and moved his hand ra- 
pidly over his face. 

" Why — perhaps it would be better. — Tell his lord- 
ship frankly how you are circumstanced." 

" Tut !" he exclaimed, impetuously, " ask him for 
peace-officers ! a likely thing !" He pressed both his 
hands on his forehead, leaning on his elbows over the 
desk. A servant that moment appeared, and said — 
" Please, sir, the man says he had orders not to wait 
more than five minutes" — 

" Begone ! Let him wait, sir !" thundered Mr Stafford 
i — and resumed his pen. 



THE STATESMAN. 133 

" Can't you throw yourself on his lordship's personal 
good feeling towards you, and say that such an offer re- 
quires consideration — that it must interfere with, and 
derange, on the instant, many of your political engage- 
ments — and that your answer shall be at Whitehall by 
— say nine o'clock this evening ? So you will gain time 
at least." 

" Good. 'Twill do — a fair plea for time ; but I'm 
afraid !" said he, mournfully ; and taking his pen, he 
wrote off an answer to that effect. He read it to me — 
folded it up — sealed it — directed it in his usual bold and 
flowing hand — I rang for the servant — and, in a few mo- 
ments, we saw the courier galloping past the window. 

" Now, Doctor, isn't this enough to madden me ? O 
God ! it's intolerable !" said he, rising and approaching 
me, — " my glorious prospects to be darkened by this 
speck — this atom of puppyism — of worthlessness," — 

naming Lord , his destined opponent. " Oh — if 

there were — if there were" he resumed, speaking 

fiercely through his closed teeth, his eyes glaring down- 
wards, and his hands clenched. He soon relaxed. 
" Well, well ! it can't be helped ; 'tis inevitable — nanus 
ir'iTr^uTXi rdinx. xivx. h(piv%iTxi — I must say with Medea. 
Ah ! — Lord A at last," he said, as a gentleman, fol- 
lowed by his groom, rode past the window. In a few 
moments he entered the library. His stature was lofty, 
his features commanding, and his bearing fraught with 
composure and military hauteur. " Ah — Stafford, — 
good morning !" said he, approaching and shaking him 
warmly by the hand, " upon my soul I'm sorry for the 
business I'm come about." 

" I can sympathize with you, I think," replied Mr 



134 THE STATESMAN. 

Stafford, calmly. " My Lord, allow me — Dr " I 

bowed. " Fully in my confidence — an old friend," he 

whispered Lord A , in consequence of his Lordship's 

inquisitive suspicious glance. * * " Well, you must 
teach the presumptuous puppy better manners this even- 
ing !" said his Lordship, adjusting his black stock with 
an indifferent air ! 

" Ay — nothing like a leaden lesson," replied Mr 
Stafford, with a, cold smile. 

" For a leaden head, too, by !" rejoined his 

Lordship, quickly. " We shall run you pretty fair 
through, I think ; for we have determined on putting 
you up at six paces" 

" Six paces ! — why, we shall blow one another to 

!" echoed Mr Stafford, with consternation. 

" ' Twould be rather hard to go there in such bad com- 
pany, I own. Six paces !" continued Mr Stafford, " how 
could you be so absurd ! — It will be deliberate murder !" 

" Poh, poh ! — never a bit of it, my dear fellow — ne- 
ver a bit of it ! — I've put many up at that distance — 
and, believe me, the chances are ten to two that both 
miss." 

" Both miss at six paces ?" inquired Mr Stafford, with 
an incredulous smile. 

" Ay ! both miss, I say ; and no wonder either. Such 
contiguity ' — Egad, 'twould make a statue nervous !" 

" But, A ! have you really determined on put- 
ting us up at six paces ?" again inquired Mr Stafford, 
earnestly. 

" Most unquestionably," replied his Lordship, briskly ; 
adding, rather coldly, " I natter myself, Stafford, that 



THE STATESMAN. 18.5 

when a man's honour is at stake, six, or sixty paces, are 
matters equally indifferent." 

" Ay, ay, A , I dare say," replied Mr Stafford, 

with a melancholy air; " but 'tis hard to die by the hands 
of a puppy, and under such circumstances ! Did you not 
meet a man on horseback?" 

" Ay, ay, " replied his Lordship, eagerly ; " I did — 

a courier of my Lord 's, and thundering town-ward, 

at a prodigious rate. Any doings there between you and 
the premier ?" 

" Read !" said Mr Stafford, putting Lord 's letter 

into his hand. Before his Lordship had more than half 
read it, he let it fall on the table, exclaiming, " Good God! 
was there ever such an unfortunate thing in the world 
before ! — Ha'n't it really driven you mad, Stafford ?" 

" No," he replied with a sigh ; " the thing must be 

borne !" Lord A walked a few steps about the room, 

thoughtfully, with energetic gestures. " If — if I could 
but find a pretext — if I could but come across the puppy, 
in the interval — I'd give my life to have a shot prepa- 
ratory with him !" he muttered. Mr Stafford smiled. 
" While I think of it," said he, opening his desk, " here's 

my will. I wish you and Dr to see me sign." We 

did — and affixed our names. 

***** 

" By the way," said his Lordship, suddenly address- 
ing Mr Stafford, who, with his chin resting on his hands, 
and his features wearing an air of intense thought, had 
been silent for some minutes ; " how do you put off Lady 
Emma to-day ? How do you account for your absence ?" 

" Why, I've told her we three were engaged to din- 
ner at Sir 's," naming a neighbouring Baronet. " I'm 



136 



THE STATESMAN. 



afraid it will kill Lady Emma if I fall," he faltered, 
while the tears rushed to his eyes. He stepped towards 
the decanters, which had, a little while before, been 
brought in by the servant ; and, after asking us to do the 
same, poured out a glass, and drank it hastily — and an- 
other — and another. 

" Well, this is one of the saddest affairs, altogether, 
that I ever knew !" exclaimed his Lordship. " Stafford, 
I feer for you from my heart's core — I do !" he continued, 
grasping him affectionately by the hand : " here's to your 
success to-night, and God's blessing to Lady Emma !" 
Mr Stafford started suddenly from him, and walked to 
the window, where he stood for a few minutes in silence. 
" Lady Emma is returning, I see," said he, approaching 
us. His features exhibited little or no traces of agita- 
tion. He poured out another glass of wine, and drank 
it off at a draught, and had hardly set down the glass, 
before the carriage steps were heard letting down at the 
door. Mr Stafford turned to them with an eye of agony, 
as his lady and one of her little girls descended. 

" I think we'd perhaps better not join her Ladyship 
before our setting off," said Lord A , looking anxi- 
ously at poor Stafford. 

" Oh, but we will" said he, leading to the door. He 
had perfectly recovered his self-possession. I never 
knew a man that had such remarkable command of face 
and manner as Mr Stafford. I was amazed at the gay 
— almost nonchalant — air with which he walked up to 
Lady Emma — asked her about the sermon — whether she 

had called at Admiral 's — and several other such 

questions. 

" Ah ! and how is it with you, my little Hebe — eh ?" 



THE STATESMAN. 137 

said he, taking the laughing girl into his arms, laughing, 
tickling and kissing her, with all a father's fondness. / 
saw his heart was swelling within him ; and the touching 
sight brought, with powerful force, to my recollection a 
similar scene in the Medea of Euripides, where the mo- 
ther is bewailing over the " last smile" of her children *. 
He succeeded in betraying no painful emotion in his 
lady's presence ; and Lord A took good care to en- 
gage her in incessant conversation. 

" What does your Ladyship say to a walk through the 
grounds ?" said he, proffering his arm, which she ac- 
cepted, and we all walked out together. The day was 
beautiful, but oppressively sultry, and we turned our 
steps towards the plantations. Mr Stafford and I walked 
together, and slipped a little behind for the purpose of 
conversation. " I sha'n't have much opportunity of 
speaking with you, Doctor," said he, " so I'll say what is 
uppermost now. Be sure, my dear Doctor, to hurry from 
the field — which is about four miles from my house — 
to Lady Emma, in the event of my being either killed 
or wounded, and do what you think best, to prepare my 
wife for the event. I cannot trust her to better, gentler 
hands than yours — my old, my tried friend ! You 

* I shall he pardoned, I am sure, by the classical reader, for re- 
minding him of the exquisite language of the original : 

&iv ! tpiu ! — ri VfioirdtoKitrS-i f&QjLifAatrtv, TiKvcc ; 

Ti TpoffytXarl tov tuvuptcctov yikuv \ 

£, — £, ! *«j5,'a X« ? !i X ir*i 

of/.fi.a tyuih^ov u$ 'ithov rixvajv I 

oux. &v ^uvaipriv ! 

Edr. Med. 1036—40. 



138 THE STATESMAN. 

know where my will is — and I've given directions for 
my funeral." 

" O dear, dear Stafford !" I interrupted him, moved 
almost to tears, " don't speak so hopelessly !" 

" O Doctor — nonsense ! there's no disguising matters 
from one's self. Is there a chance for me ? No : I'm 

a murdered man ; and can you doubt it ? Lord 

can do only one thing well in the world, and that is, hit 
his man at any distance ; and then six paces off each 

other ! Lord A may say what he likes ; but I call 

it murder. However, the absurd customs of society 
must, be complied with ! — I hope," he added, after a pause, 
" that when the nine days' wonder of the affair shall have 
passed off — if I fall — when the press shall cease its lying 
about it — that my friends will do justice to my memory. 
God knows, I really love my country, and would have 
served it : it was my ambition to do so ; but it's useless 
talking now ! — I am excessively vexed that this affair 

should have occurred before the question comes 

on, in preparation for which I have been toiling inces- 
santly, night and day, for this month past. I know that 

great expectations " At that instant, Lord A 

and Lady Emma met us, and we had no farther oppor- 
tunity of conversing. We returned to lunch after a few 
minutes' longer walk. 

" God bless you, Emma !" said Mr Stafford, nodding, 
with an affectionate smile, as he took wine with his lady. 
He betrayed no emotion throughout the time we sat to- 
gether, but conversed long — and often in a lively strain 
— on the popular topics of the day. He rang for his 
valet, and directed him to have his toilet ready, and to 
order the carriage for four o'clock. He then withdrew : 



THE STATESMAN. 139 

and in about a quarter of an hour's time, returned, 
dressed in a blue surtout and white trowsers. He was 
a very handsome, well-made man, and seemed dressed 
with particular elegance, I thought. 

" Upon my honour, Charles, you are in a pretty din- 
ner-trim," said Lady Emma, " and all of you, I protest !" 
-jhe continued, looking round with surprise at our walk- 
ing dress. Mr Stafford told her, with a laugh, that we 
were going to meet none but bachelors. 

" What ! — why, where will the Miss s be ?" 

" Ordered out, my lady, for the day," replied Lord 

A , with a smile, promptly, lest his friend should 

hesitate ; " 'tis to be a model of a divan, I understand !" 
" Don't be late, love !" said Lady Emma to her hus- 
band, as he was drawing on his gloves ; " you know 
I've little enough of you at all times — don't — don't be 
late !" 

" No — no later than I can help, certainly !" said he, 
moving to the door. 

" Say eleven — will you ? — come, for once .'" 
" Well — yes. I will return by eleven," he replied, 
pointedly, and I detected a little tremulousness in his 
tone. 

" Papa ! papa !" exclaimed his little daughter, run- 
ning across the hall, as her father was on the carriage 
steps ; " Papa ! papa ! may I sit up to-night till you 
come home ?" He made no reply, but beckoned us in, 
hurriedly — sat back in his seat — thundered, " Drive on, 
sir !" — and burst into tears. 

" Oh, my dear fellow— Stafford— Stafford ! This will 
never do. What will our friends on the ground say ?" 
inquired Lord A 



140 THE STATESMAN. 

" What they like !" replied Mr Stafford, sternly, still 
in tears. He soon recovered himself. 

* * After driving some time, " Now, let me give 

you a bit of advice," said Lord A , in an earnest 

tone, " we shall say only one word, by way of signal — 
' Fire !' and be sure to fire while you are in the act of 
raising your pistol." 

" Oh, yes — yes — yes — I understand" 

" Well, but be sure ; don't think of pointing first, and 

then firing — or, by , you'll assuredly fire over his 

head, or fire far on one side. Only recollect to do as I 
say, and you will take him full in the ribs, or clip him 
in the neck, or at least wing him." 

" My dear fellow, do you take me for a novice ? Do 

you forget my affair with ?" inquired Mr Stafford, 

impatiently. 

" I promised to meet G about here," said Lord 

A -, putting his head out of the window. " Egad. 

if he is not punctual, I don't know what we shall do, for 
he's got my pistol-case. Where — where is he ?" he con- 
tinued, looking up the road. " There !" he exclaimed, 
catching sight of a horseman riding at a very slow pace. 

After we had overtaken him, and Lord A had taken 

the pistol-case into the carriage, and Mr Stafford had 
himself examined the pistols carefully, we rode side by 
side till we came near the scene of action. During that 
time, we spoke but little, and that little consisted of the 
most bitter and sarcastic expressions of Mr Stafford's 
contempt for his opponent, and regret at the occurrence 

which had so tantalized him, alluding to Lord 's 

offer of the office. About ten minutes to seven, 

we alighted, and gave the coachman orders to remain 



THE STATESMAN. 141 

there till we returned. The evening was lovely — the 
glare of day " mellowed to that tender light" which 
characterises a summer evening in the country. As we 
walked across the fields towards the appointed spot, I 
felt sick and faint with irrepressible agitation, and Mr 

G , the surgeon, with whom I walked, joked with me 

at my " squeamishness," much in the style of tars with 
sea-sick passengers. " There's nothing in it — nothing," 
said he ; " they'll take care not to hurt one another. 'Tis 
a pity too that such a man as Mr Stafford should run the 
risk. What a noise it will make !" I let him talk on, for 
I could not answer, till we approached the fatal field, 

which we entered by a gap. Lord A got through 

first. " Punctual, however," said he, looking round at 
Mr Stafford, who was following. " There they are — 
just getting over the style. Inimitable coxcomb !" 

" Ay, there they are, sure enough," replied he, shad- 
ing his eyes. " A , for God's sake, take care not to 

put me against the sunshine — it will dazzle" 

" Oh, never fear ; it will go down before then ; 'tis but 
just above the horizon now." A touching image, I 
thought ! It might be so with Mr Stafford — his sun 
" might go down — at noon !" 

" Stop, my lord," said Mr Stafford, motioning Lord 

A back, and pressing his hand to his forehead. " A 

moment — allow me ! Let me see— is there any thing 
I've forgot ? Oh, I thought there was !" He hurriedly 

requested Lord A , after the affair, in the event of 

its proving bloody, to call on the minister and explain 

it all. Lord A promised to do so. " Ah — here, 

too," unbuttoning his surtout, " this must not be here, I 
suppose ;" and he removed a small gold snuff-box from 



142 THE STATESMAN. 

his right to his left waistcoat pocket. " Let the block- 
head have his full chance." 

" Stuff, stuff, Stafford ! That's Quixotic !" muttered 
Lord A He was much paler, and more thought- 
ful thau I had seen him all along. All this occurred in 
much less time than I have taken to tell it. We all pass- 
ed into the field ; and as we approached, saw Lord — — 
and his second, who were waiting our arrival. The ap- 
pearance of the former was that of a handsome fashion- 
able young man, with very light hair, and lightly dress- 
ed altogether ; and he walked to and fro, switching about 

a little riding-cane. Mr Stafford released Lord A , 

who joined the other second, and commenced the preli- 
minary arrangements. 

I never saw a greater contrast, than there was be- 
tween the demeanour of Mr Stafford and his opponent. 
There stood the former, his hat shading his eyes, his 
arms folded, eyeing the motions of his antagonist with 
a look of supreme — of utter contempt ; for I saw his 

compressed and curled upper lip. Lord betrayed 

an anxiety — a visible effort to appear unconcerned. He 
" overdid it." He was evidently as uneasy, in the con- 
tiguity of Mr Stafford, as the rabbit shivering under the 
baleful glare of the rattlesnake's eye. One little cir- 
cumstance was full of character at that agitating moment. 
Lord , anxious to manifest every appearance of cool- 
ness and indifference, seemed bent on demolishing a net- 
tle, or some other prominent weed, and was making re- 
peated strokes at it with the little whip he held. This, 
a few seconds before his life was to be jeopardied ! Mr 
Stafford stood watching this* puerile feat in the position 
I have formerly mentioned, and a withering smile stole 



THE STATESMAN. 143 

over his features, while he muttered — if I heard correct- 
ly — " Poor boy ! poor boy !" 

At length the work of loading being completed, and 
the distance — six paces — duly stepped out, the duellists 
walked up to their respective stations. Their proxi- 
mity was perfectly frightful. The pistols were then 
placed in their hands, and we stepped to a little distance 
from them. 

" Fire !" said Lord A ; and the word had hard- 
ly passed his lips, before Lord 's ball whizzed close 

past the ear of Mr Stafford. The latter, who had not 
even elevated his pistol at the word of command, after 
eyeing his antagonist for an instant with a scowl of con- 
tempt, fired in the air, and then jerked the pistol away 

towards Lord , with the distinctly audible words — 

" Kennel, sir ! kennel !" He then walked towards the 

spot where Mr G and I were standing. Would 

to heaven he had never uttered the words in question ! 

Lord had heard them, and followed him, furiously 

exclaiming, " Do you call this satisfaction, sir ?" and, 
through his second, insisted on a second interchange of 

shots. In vain did Lord A vehemently protest 

that it was contrary to all the laws of duelling, and that 
he would leave the ground — they were inflexible. Mr 

Stafford approached Lord A , and whispered, " For 

God's sake, A , don't hesitate. Load — load again ! 

The fool will rush on his fate. Put us up again, and 
see if I fire a second time in the air !" His second slow- 
ly and reluctantly assented, and reloaded. Again the 
hostile couple stood at the same distance from each 
other, pale with fury ; and at the word of command, 
both fired, and both fell. At one bound I sprung to- 



144 THE STATESMAN. 

wards Mr Stafford, almost blind with agitation. Lord 

A had him propped against his knee, and with his 

white pocket-handkerchief was endeavouring to stanch 
a wound in the right siclei Mr Stafford's fire had done 
terrible execution, for his ball had completely shattered 
the lower jaw of his opponent, who was borne off the 
field instantly; Mr Stafford swooned, and was some 
minutes before he recovered, when he exclaimed feebly, 
" God forgive me, and be with my poor wife !" We 
attempted to move him, when he swooned a second time, 
and we were afraid it was all over with him. Again, 
however, he recovered ; and, opening his eyes, he saw 
me with my fingers at his pulse. " Oh, Doctor, Doc- 
tor ! what did you promise ? Remember Lady Emm — " 
he could not get out the word. I waited till the surgeon 
had ascertained generally the nature of the wound, which 
he presently pronounced not fatal, and assisted in bind- 
ing it up, and conveying him to the carriage. I then 
mounted Mr G 's horse, and hurried on to communi- 
cate the dreadful intelligence to Lady Emma. I gallop- 
ed every step of the way, and found, on my arrival, that 
her ladyship had but a few moments before adjourned to 
the drawing-room, where she was sitting at coffee. Thi- 
ther I followed the servant, who announced me. Lady 
Emma was sitting by the tea-table, and rose on hearing 
my name. When she saw my agitated manner, the co- 
lour suddenly faded from her cheeks. She elevated her 
arms, as if deprecating my intelligence ; and before I 
could reach her, bad fallen fainting on the floor. 

I cannot undertake to describe what took place on 
that dreadful night. All was confusion — agony — des-> 



THE STATESMAN. 145 

pair. Mr Stafford was in a state of insensibility when 
he arrived at home, and was immediately carried up to 
bed. The surgeon succeeded in extracting the ball, 
which had seriously injured the fifth and sixth ribs, but 
had not penetrated to the lungs. Though the wound 
was serious, and would require careful and vigilant treat- 
ment, there was no ground for apprehending a mortal 

issue. As for Lord , I may anticipate his fate. 

The wound he had received brought on a lock-jaw, of 
which he died in less than a week. And this is what 
is called satisfaction. 

To return : All my attention was devoted to poor 
Lady Emma. She did not even ask to see her husband, 
or move to leave the drawing-room, afterrecovering from 
her swoon. She listened with apparent calmness to my 
account of the transaction, which, the reader may ima- 
gine, was as mild and mitigated in its details as possible. 
As I went on, she became more and more thoughtful, 
and continued, with her eyes fixed on the floor, motion- 
less and silent. In vain did I attempt to rouse her, by 
soothing — threats — surprise. She would gaze full at me, 
and relapse into her former abstracted mood. At length 
the drawing-room door was opened by some one — who 

proved to be Lord A , come to take his leave. Lady 

Emma sprang from the sofa, burst from my grasp, ut- 
tered a long, loud, and frightful peal of laughter, and 
then came fit after fit of the strongest hysterics I ever 

saw. * * About midnight, Dr Baillie and Sir 

arrived, and found their patients each insensible, and 
each in different apartments. Alas ! alas ! what a dread- 
ful contrast between that hour and the hour of my arri- 

VOL. II. K 



146 THE STATESMAN. 

val in the morning ! O ambition ! O political happiness ! 
— mockery ! 

Towards morning Lady Emma became calmer, and, 
under the influence of a pretty powerful dose of lauda- 
num, fell into a sound sleep. I repaired to the bedside 

of Mr Stafford. He lay asleep, Mr G the surgeon 

sitting on one side of the bed, and a nurse on the other. 
Yes, there lay the Statesman ! his noble features, though 
overspread with a pallid, a cadaverous hue, still bearing 
the ineffaceable impress of intellect. There was a lofti- 
ness about the ample expanded forehead, and a stern com- 
manding expression about the partially knit eyebrows, 
and pallid compressed lips, which, even in the absence 
of the flashing eye, bespoke 

the great soul, 

Like an imprisoned eagle, pent within, 

That fain would fly! 

" On what a slender thread hangs every thing in life !" 
thought I, as I stood silently at the foot of the bed, gazing 
on Mr Stafford. To think of a man like Stafford fall- 
ing by the hand of an insignificant lad of a lordling — a 
titled bully ! Oh, shocking and execrable custom of 
duelling ! — blot on the escutcheon of a civilized people! 
— which places greatness of every description at the 
mercy of the mean and worthless ; which lyingly pre- 
tends to assert a man's honour and atone for insult, by 
turning the tears of outraged feeling into — blood ! 

About eight o'clock in the morning, (Monday,) I set 
off for town, leaving my friend in the skilful hands of Mr 
G , and promising to return, if possible, in the even- 
ing. About noon, what was my astonishment to hear 
street-criers yelling every where a " full, true, and par- 



THE STATESMAN. 147 

ticular account of the bloody duel fought last night be- 
tween Mr Stafford and Lord !" Curiosity prompted 

me to purchase the trash. I need hardly say that it was 
preposterous nonsense. The " duellists," it seemed, "fired 
six shots a-piece" — and what will the reader imagine 
were the " dying" words of Mr Stafford — according to 
these precious manufacturers of the marvellous ? — " Mr 
Stafford then raised himself on his second's knee, and 
with a loud and solemn voice, said ' I leave my everlast- 
ing hatred to Lord , my duty to my king and coun- 
try — my love to my family — and my precious soul to 
God !' " 

The papers of the day, however, gave a tolerably ac- 
curate account of the affair, and unanimously stigmatized 

the " presumption" of Lord in calling out such a 

man as Mr Stafford — and on such frivolous grounds. My 
name was, most fortunately, not even alluded to. I was 
glancing through the columns of the evening ministerial 
paper, while the servant was saddling the horses for my 
return to the country, when my eye lit on the following 

paragraph ; " Latest news. Lord is appointed 

Secretary. We understand that Mr Stafford had 

the refusal of it." Poor Stafford ! Lord A had 

called on the minister, late on Sunday evening and ac- 
quainted him with the whole affair. " Sorry — very," 
said the premier. " Rising man that — but we could not 

wait. Lord j- is to be the man !" 

I arrived at Mr Stafford's about nine o'clock, and 
made my way immediately to his bedroom. Lady Emma, 
pale and exhausted, sat by his bedside, her eyes swollen 
with weeping. At my request she presently withdrew, 
and I took her place at my patient's side. He was not 
sensible of my presence for some time, but lay with his 



148 THE STATESMAN. 

eyes half open, and in a state of low muttering delirium. 
An unfortunate cough of mine close to his ear, awoke 
him, and after gazing steadily at me for nearly a min- 
ute, he recognised me and nodded. He seemed going 
to speak to me — but I laid my finger on my lips to warn 
him against making the effort. 

" One word — one only, Doctor," he whispered hasti- 
ly, — " Who is the Secretary?" " Lord ," 

I replied. On hearing the name, he turned his head 
away from me with an air of intense chagrin, and lay 
silent for some time. He presently uttered something 
like the words — " too hot to hold him,"- — ■" unseat him," 
— and apparently fell asleep. I found from the attend- 
ant that all was going on well — and that Mr Stafford 
bade fair for a rapid recovery, if he would but keep his 
mind calm and easy. Fearful lest my presence, in the 
event of his waking again, might excite him into a talking 
mood, I slipped silently from the room, and betook my- 
self to Lady Emma, who sat awaiting me in her boudoir. 
I found her in a flood of tears. I did all in my power 
to soothe her, by reiterating my solemn assurances that 
Mr Stafford was beyond all danger, and wanted only 
quiet to recover rapidly. 

" Oh, Doctor ! How could you deceive me so 

yesterday ? You knew all about it ! How could you 

look at my little children, and" Sobs choked her 

utterance. " Well — I suppose you could not help it ! 
I don't blame you — but my heart is nearly broken about 
it ! Oh, this honour — this honour ! I always thought 
Mr Stafford above the foolery of such things !" She 
paused — I replied not — for I had not a word to say 
against what she uttered. I thought and felt with her. 

" I would to Heaven that Mr Stafford would forsake 



THE STATESMAN. 149 

Parliament for ever ! These hateful politics ! He has 
no peace or rest by day or night !" continued Lady Em- 
ma, passionately. " His nights are constantly turned 
into day — and his day is ever full of hurry and trouble ! 
Heaven knows I would consent to be banished from so- 
ciety — to work for my daily bread- — I would submit to 
any thing, if I could but prevail on Mr Stafford to return 
to the bosom of his family ! Doctor, my heart's happi- 
ness is cankered and gone ! Mr Stafford does but tole- 
rate me — his heart is not mine — it isn't ." Again she 

burst into tears. " What can your ladyship mean ?" I 
inquired with surprise. 

" What I say, Doctor," she replied, sobbing. " He 
is wedded to ambition ! ambition alone ! Oh ! I am 
often tempted to wish I had never seen or known him! 
For the future, I shall live trembling from day to day, 
fearful of the recurrence of such frightful scenes as yes- 
terday ! his reason will be failing him — his reason !" 
she repeated with a shudder, " and then /" Her emo- 
tions once more deprived her of utterance. I felt for 
her from my very soul ! I was addressing some consola- 
tory remark to her, when a gentle tapping was heard at 
the door. " Come in," said Lady Emma, and Mr Staf- 
ford's valet made his appearance, saying, with hurried 
gestures and grimaces — " Ah, Docteur ! Mons. derai- 

sonne — il est fou ! H veut absolument voir Milord ! 

Je ne puis lui faire passer cette idee la !" 

" What can be the matter !" exclaimed Lady Emma, 
looking at me with alarm. 

" Oh, only some little wandering, I dare say; but I'll 
soon return and report progress !" said I, prevailing on 
her to wait my return, and hurrying to the sick cham • 



150 THE STATESMAN. 

ber. To my surprise and alarm, I found Mr Stafford 
sitting nearly bolt upright in bed, his eyes directed anxi- 
ously to the door. 

" Dr ," said he, as soon as I had taken my seat 

beside him, " I insist on seeing Lord ," naming the 

prime minister ; " I positively insist upon it ! Let his 
Lordship be shown up instantly." I implored him to 
lie down, at the peril of his life, and be calm — but he 

insisted on seeing Lord . " He is gone, and left 

word that he would call at this time to-morrow," said I, 
hoping to quiet him. 

" Indeed ? Good of him ! What can he want ? The 
office is disposed of. There ! there ! he is stepped back 
again ! Show him up — show him up ! What, insult 
the King's Prime Minister ? Show him up, Louis," ad- 
dressing his valet, adding drowsily, in a fainter tone, 
"and the members — the members — the — the — who pair- 
ed off — who pair" — he sank gradually down on the pil- 
low, the perspiration burst forth, and he fell asleep. Find- 
ing he slept on tranquilly and soundly, I once more left 
him, and having explained it to Lady Emma, bade her 
good evening, and returned to town. The surgeon who 
was in constant attendance on him, called at my house 
during the afternoon of the following day, and gave me 
so good an account of him, that I did not think it ne- 
cessary to go down till the day after, as I had seriously 
broken in upon my own practice. When I next saw 
him he was mending rapidly. He even persuaded me 
into allowing him to have the daily papers read to him, 
— a circumstance I much regretted after I left him, and 
suddenly recollected how often the public prints made 
allusions to him — some of them not very kindly or com- 



THE STATESMAN. 151 

plimentary. But there was no resisting his importunity. 
He had a wonderful wheedling way with him. 

Two days after, he got me to consent to his receiving 
the visits of his political friends ; and really the renewal 
of his accustomed stimulus conduced materially to hasten 
his recovery. 

Scarcely six weeks from the day of the duel, was this 
indefatigable and ardent spirit, Mr Stafford, on his legs 
in the House of Commons, electrifying it and the na- 
tion at large, by a speech of the most overwhelming 
power and splendour ! He flung his scorching sarcasms 
mercilessly at the astounded Opposition, especially at 
those who had contrived to render themselves in any way 
prominent in their opposition to his policy, during his 
absence ! By an artful manoeuvre of rhetoric — a skilful 
allusion to " recent unhappy circumstances," he carried 
the House with him, from the very commencement, en- 
thusiastically, to the end, and was at last obliged to pause 
almost every other minute, that the cheering might sub- 
side. The unfortunate nobleman who had stepped into 
the shoes which had been first placed at Mr Stafford's 
feet — so to speak — came in for the cream of the whole! 
A ridiculous figure he cut ! Jokes, sneers, lampoons, fell 
upon him like a shower of missiles on a man in the pil- 
lory. He was a fat man, and sat perspiring under it. 
The instant Mr Stafford sat down, this unlucky person- 
age arose to reply. His odd and angry gesticulations, 
as he vainly attempted to make himself heard amidst in- 
cessant shouts of laughter, served to clinch the nail which 
had been fixed by Mr Stafford ; and the indignant se- 
nator presently left the House. Another — and another 
— and another of the singed ones, arose and " followed 



152 THE STATESMAN. 

on the same side," but to no purpose. It was in vain to 
buffet against the spring-tide of favour which had set in 
to Mr Stafford ! That night will not be forgotten by 
either his friends or his foes. He gained his point ! with- 
in a fortnight he had ousted his rival, and was gazetted 

Secretary ! The effort he made, however, on the 

occasion last alluded to, brought him again under my 
hands for several days. Indeed, 1 never had such an in- 
tractable patient ! He could not be prevailed on to show 
any mercy to his constitution — he would not give nature 
fair play. Night and day — morning, noon, evening — 
spring, summer, autumn, winter — found him toiling on 
the tempestuous ocean of politics, his mind ever laden 
with the most harassing and exhausting cares. The emi- 
nent situation he filled, brought him, of course, an im- 
mense accession of cares and anxieties. He was virtu- 
ally the leader of the House of Commons ; and, though 
his exquisite tact and talent secured to himself person- 
ally the applause and admiration of all parties, the go- 
vernment to which he belonged was beginning to dis- 
close symptoms of disunion and disorganization, at a 
time when public affairs were becoming every hour more 
and more involved — our domestic and foreign policy 
perplexed — the latter almost inextricably — every day 
assuming a new and different aspect, through the opera- 
tion of the great events incessantly transpiring on the 
Continent. The national confidence began rapidly to 
ebb away from the ministers, and symptoms of a most 
startling character appeared in different parts of the 
country. The House of Commons — the pulse of popular 
feeling — began to beat irregularly — now intermitting — 
now with feverish strength and rapidity — clearly indi- 



THE STATESMAN. 153 

eating that the circulation was disordered. Nearly the 
whole of the newspapers turned against the ministry, and 
assailed them with the bitterest and foulest obloquy. 
Night after night poor Mr Stafford talked himself hoarse, 
feeling that he was the acknowledged mouth-piece of the 
ministry, but in vain. Ministers were perpetually left 
in miserable minorities ; they were beaten at every point. 
Their ranks presented the appearance of a straggling 
disbanded army ; those of the Opposition hung together 
like a shipwrecked crew clinging to the last fragments 
of their wreck. Can the consequences be wondered at ? 

At length came the Budget, — word of awful omen to 
many a quaking ministry ! In vain were the splendid 
powers of Mr Stafford put into requisition. In vain did 
his masterly mind fling light and order over his som- 
brous chaotic subject, and simplify and make clear to 
the whole country the, till then, dreary jargon and mys- 
ticism of financial technicalities. In vain, in vain did 
he display the sweetness of Cicero, the thunder of De- 
mosthenes. The leader of the Opposition rose, and cool- 
ly turned all he had said into ridicule ; one of his squad 
then started to his feet, and made out poor Mr Stafford 
to be a sort of ministerial swindler ; and the rest cun- 
ningly gave the cue to the country, and raised up in 
every quarter clamorous dissatisfaction. Poor Stafford 
began to look haggard and wasted ; and the papers said 
he stalked into the House, night after night, like a 
spectre. The hour of the ministry was come. They 
were beaten on the first item, in the committee of sup- 
ply. Mr Stafford resigned in disgust and indignation ; 
and that broke up the government. 

I saw him the morning after he had formally tender- 



154 THE STATESMAN. 

ed his resignation, and given up the papers, &c. of of- 
fice. He was pitifully emaciated. The fire of his eye 
was quenched, his sonorous voice broken. I could scarce- 
ly repress a tear, as I gazed at his sallow, haggard fea- 
tures, and his languid limbs drawn together on his li- 
brary sofa. 

" Doctor — my friend ! This frightful session has kill- 
ed me, I'm afraid !" said he. " I feel equally wasted in 
body and mind. I loathe life — every thing !" 

" I don't think you've been fairly dealt with ! You've 
been crippled — shackled" 

" Yes — cursed — cursed — cursed in my colleagues," 
he interrupted me, with eager bitterness ; it is their exe- 
crable little-mindedness and bigotry that have concen- 
trated on us the hatred of the nation. As for myself, I 
am sacrificed, and to no purpose. I feel I cannot long 
survive it ; for I am withered, root and branch — wi- 
thered !" 

" Be persuaded, Mr Stafford," said I, gently, " to 
withdraw for a while, and recruit." 

" Oh, ay, ay — any whither — any whither — as far off 
as possible from London — that's all. God pity the man 
that holds office in these times. The talents of half the 
angels in heaven wouldn't avail him ! Doctor, I rave. 
Forgive me — I'm in a morbid, nay, almost rabid mood 
of mind. Foiled at every point — others robbing me of 
the credit of my labours — sneered at by fools — tramp- 
led on by the aristocracy — oh ! tut, tut, tut — fie on it 

all !" 

* # * * 

" Have you seen the morning papers, Mr Stafford ?" 
" Not I, indeed. Sick of their cant — lies — tergiver- 



THE STATESMAN. 155 

sation — scurrility. I've laid an embargo on them all. I 
won't let one come to my house for a fortnight. 'Tis 
adding fuel to the fire that is consuming me." 

" Ah, but they represent the nation as calling loudly 
for your reinstatement in office." 

" Faugh — let it call ! Let them lie on ! I've done with 
them — for the present, at least." 

The servant brought up the cards of several of his late 
colleagues. " Not at home, sirrah ! — Harkee — ill — ill," 
thundered his master. I sat with him nearly an hour 
longer. Oh, what gall and bitterness tinctured every 
word he uttered ! How this chafed and fretted spirit 
spurned at sympathy, and despised — even acquiescence! 
He complained heavily of perfidy and ingratitude on the 
part of many members of the House of Commons ; and 
expressed his solemn determination — should he ever re- 
turn to power — to visit them with his signal vengeance. 
His eyes flashed fire, as he recounted the instance of one 
well-known individual, whom he had paid heavily be- 
forehand for his vote, by a sinecure, and by whom he 
was after all unblushingly "jockeyed,"* on the score of 
the salary being a few pounds per annum less than had 
been calculated on ! " Oh, believe me," he continued, 
" of all knavish trafficking, there is none like your po- 
litical trafficking ; of all swindlers, your political swind- 
ler is the vilest." Before I next saw him, the new mi- 
nistry had been named, some of the leading members of 
which were among Mr Stafford's bitterest and most con- 
temptuous enemies, and had spontaneously pledged them* 

* " Jockeying — terme politique emprunte a l'argot special dont se 
servent les habetues des courses de chevaux et les maquigiions." — 
French Translator. 



156 THE^STATESMAN. 

selves to act diametrically opposite to the policy he had 
adopted. This news was too much for him ; and, full of 
unutterable fury and chagrin, he hastily left town, and, 
with all his family, betook himself, for an indefinite pe- 
riod, to a distant part of England. I devoutly hoped 
that he had now had his surfeit of politics, and would 
henceforth seek repose in the domestic circle. Lady 
Emma participated anxiously in that wish ; she doated 
on her husband more fondly than ever ; and her faded 
beauty touchingly told with what deep devotion she had 
identified herself with her husband's interests. 

As I am not writing a life of Mr Stafford, I must leap 
over a farther interval of twelve anxious and agitating 
years. He returned to Parliament, and for several ses- 
sions shone brilliantly as the leader of the Opposition. 
Being freed from the trammels of office, his spirits re- 
sumed their wonted elasticity, and his health became 
firmer than it had been for years ; so that there was little 
necessity for my visiting him on any other footing than 
that of friendship. 

A close observer could not fail to detect the system of 
Mr Stafford's parliamentary tactics. He subordinated 
every thing to accomplish the great purpose of his life. 
He took every possible opportunity, in eloquent and 
brilliant speeches, of familiarizing Parliament, and the 
country at large, with his own principles ; dexterously 
contrasting with them the narrow and inconsistent po- 
licy of his opponents. He felt that he was daily in- 
creasing the number of his partisans, both in and out of 
the House — and securing a prospect of his speedy re- 
turn to permanent power. I one day mentioned this 
feature, and told him I admired the way in which he 



THE STATESMAN. 157 

gradually insinuated himself into the confidence of the 
country. 

" Aha, Doctor !" — he replied briskly — " to borrow 
one of your own terms — I'm vaccinating the nation !" 

July — , 1 8 — . — The star of Stafford again Lord of 

the Ascendent ! This day have the seals of the 

office been intrusted to my gifted friend Stafford, amid 
the thunders of the Commons, and the universal gratu- 
lations of the country. He is virtually the Leader of 
the Cabinet, and has it " all his own way" with the 
House. Every appearance he makes there is the signal 
for a perfect tempest of applause — with, however, a few 
lightning gleams of inveterate hostility. His course is 
full of dazzling dangers. There are breakers a-head — 
he must tack about incessantly amid shoals and quick- 
sands. God help him, and give him calmness and self- 
possession — or he is lost ! 

I suppose there will be no getting near him, at least to 
such an insignificant person as myself — unless he should 
unhappily require my professional services. How my 
heart beats when I hear it said in society, that he seems 
to feel most acutely the attacks incessantly made on him 
— and appears ill every day ! Poor Stafford ! I won- 
der how Lady Emma bears all this ! 

I hear every where, that a tremendous opposition is 
organizing, countenanced in very high quarters, and that 
he will have hard work to maintain his ground. He is 
paramount at present, and laughs his enemies to scorn ! 
His name, coupled with almost idolatrous expressions 
of homage, is in every one's mouth of the varium et mu- 
tabile semper ! His pictures are in every shop win- 



158 THE STATESMAN. 

(low ; dinners are given him every week ; addresses for- 
warded from all parts of the country ; the freedom of 
large cities and corporations voted him ; in short, there 
is scarcely any thing said or done in public, but Mr 
Stafford's name is coupled with it. 

March — , 1 8 — — Poor Stafford, baited incessantly 
in the House, night after night. Can he stand ? every 
body is asking. He has commenced the session swim- 
mingly — as the phrase is. Lady Emma, whom I acci- 
dentally met to-day at the house of a patient — herself 
full of feverish excitement — gives me a sad account of 
Mr Stafford. Restless nights — incessant sleep-talking 
— continual indisposition — loss of appetite ! 

Oh, the pleasures of politics, the sweets of ambition ! 

Saturday — A strange hint in one of the papers to-day 
about Mr Stafford's unaccountable freaks in the House, 
and treatment of various members. What can it mean ? 
A fearful suspicion glanced across my mind — Heaven 
grant it may be groundless ! — on coupling with this dark 
newspaper hint an occurrence which took place some 
short time ago. It was this: Lady Amelia was sud- 
denly taken ill at a ball given by the Duke of , and I 

was called in to attend her. She had swooned in the midst 
of the dance, and continued hysterical for some time af- 
ter her removal home. I asked her what had occasion- 
ed it all — and she told me that she happened to be pass- 
ing, in the dance, a part of the room where Mr Stafford 
stood, who had looked in for a few minutes to speak to 
the Marquis of . " He was standing in a thought- 
ful attitude," she continued, " and somehow or another 
I attracted his attention in passing, and he gave me one 



THE STATESMAN. 159 

of the most fiendish scowls, accompanied with a frightful 
glare of the eye, I ever encountered. It passed from his 
face in an instant, and was succeeded by a smile, as he 
nodded repeatedly to persons who saluted him. The 
look he gave me haunted me, and, added to the exhaus- 
tion I felt from the heat of the room, occasioned my 
swooning." Though I felt faint at heart while listening 
to her, I laughed it off, and said it must have have been 
fancy, " No, no, Doctor, it was not," she replied, " for 

the Marchioness of saw it too, and no later than 

this very morning, when she called, asked me if I had 
affronted Mr Stafford." 

Could it be so ? Was this " look" really a transient 
ghastly out-flashing of insanity ? Was his great mind be- 
ginning to stagger under the mighty burden it bore ? 
The thought agitated me beyond measure. When I 
coupled the incident in question with the mysterious 
hint in the daily paper, my fears were awfully corrobo- 
rated. I resolved to call upon Mr Stafford that very 
evening. I was at his house about eight o'clock, but 
found he had left a little while before for Windsor. The 
next morning, however — Sunday — his servant brought 
me word that Mr Stafford would be glad to see me be- 
tween eight and ten o'clock in the evening. Thither, 
therefore, I repaired, about half-past eight. On send- 
ing up my name, his private secretary came down stairs, 
and conducted me to the minister's library, — a spacious 
and richly furnished room. Statues stood in the win- 
dow-places, and busts of British statesmen in the four 
corners. The sides were lined with book-shelves, filled 
with elegantly bound volumes ; and a large table in the 
middle of the room was covered with tape-tied packets, 



160 THE STATESMAN. 

opened and unopened letters, &c. A large bronze lamp 
was suspended from the ceiling, and threw a peculiarly 
rich and mellow light over the whole — and especially 
the figure of Mr Stafford, who, in his long crimson silk 
dressing-gown, was walking rapidly to and fro, with his 
arms folded on his breast. The first glance showed me 
that he was labouring under high excitement. His face 
was pale, and his brilliant eyes glanced restlessly from 
beneath his intensely knit brows. 

" My dear Doctor — an age since I saw you ! — Here 
I am — overwhelmed, you see, as usual !" said he, cordi- 
ally taking me by the hand, and leading me to a seat. — 
" My dear sir, you give yourself no rest — you are ac- 
tually — you are rapidly destroying yourself !" said I, 
after he had, in his own brief, energetic, and pointed 
language, described a tiain of symptoms bordering on 
those of brain -fever. He had, unknown to any one, lat- 
terly taken to opium, wh'ch he swallowed by stealth, in 
large quantities, on retiring to bed ; and I need hardly 
say how that of itself was sufficient to derange the func- 
tions both of body and mind. He had lost his appetite, 
and felt consciously sinking every day into a state of the 
utmost languor and exhaustion — so much so, that he was 
reluctant often to rise and dress, or go out. His temper, 
he said, began to fail him, and he grew fretful and irri- 
table with every body, and on every occasion. " Doc- 
tor, Doctor ! I don't know whether you'll understand 
me or not — but every thing glares at me !" said he. 
" Every object grows suddenly invested with person- 
ality — animation — I can't bear to look at them ! — I am 
oppressed — I breathe a rarified atmosphere !" — " Your 
nervous system is disturbed, Mr Stafford." — " I live in 



THE STATESMAN. 16 I 

a dim dream — with only occasional intervals of real con- 
sciousness. Every thing is false and exaggerated about 
me. I see, feel, think, through a magnifying medium 
— in a word, I'm in a strange, unaccountable — terrible 
state." 

" Can you wonder at it — even if it were worse?" said 
I, expostulating vehemently with him on his incessant, 
unmitigating application to public business. " Believe 
me," I concluded, with energy, " you must lie by, or be 
laid by." 

" Ah — good, that — terse ! — But what's to be done ? 
Must I resign ? Must public business stand still in the 
middle of the session ! I've made my bed, and must lie 
on it." 

I really was at a loss what to say. He could not 
bear " preaching" or " prosing," or any thing approach- 
ing to it. I suffered him to go on as he would — detail- 
ing more and more symptoms like those above mention- 
ed — clearly enough disclosing to my reluctant eyes, rea- 
son holding her reins loosely, unsteadily ! 

" I can't account for it, Doctor — but I feel sudden fits 
of wildness sometimes — but for a moment, however — a 
second ! — O, my Creator ! I hope all is yet sound here, 
here .'" said he, pressing his hand against his forehead. 
He rose and walked rapidly to and fro. " Excuse me, 
Doctor, I cannot sit still !" said he. * * * " Have 
I not enough to upset me ? — Only listen to a tithe of 
my troubles, now ! — After paying almost servile court 
to a parcel of Parliamentary puppies, ever since the com- 
mencement of the session, to secure their votes on the 

Bill — having the boobies here to dine with ine, 

and then dining with them, week after week — sitting 

VOL. II. L 



162 THE STATESMAN. 

down gaily with fellows whom I utterly, unutterably 
despise — every one of the pack suddenly turned tail on 
me — stole, stole, stole away — every one — and -left me 
in a ridiculous minority of 43 !" — I said it was a sam- 
ple of the annoyances inseparable from office " Ay, 

ay, ay !" he replied with impetuous bitterness, increas- 
ing the pace at which he was walking. " Why — why 
is it, that public men have no principle — no feeling — no 
gratitude — no sympathy ?" he paused. I said, mildly, 
that I hoped the throng of the session was nearly got 
through, that his embarrassments would diminish, and 
he would have some leisure on his hands. 

" Oh, no, no, no ! — my difficulties and perplexities 
increase and thicken on every side ! Great heavens ! 
how are we to get on? All the motions of government 
are impeded ; we are hemmed in — blocked up on every 
side — the state vessel is surrounded with closing crash- 
ing icebergs ! I think I must quit the helm ! Look 
here, for instance. After ransacking all the arts and re- 
sources of diplomacy, I had, with infinite difficulty, suc- 
ceeded in devising a scheme for adjusting our diffe- 
rences. Several of the continental powers have acquies- 
ced — all was going on well — when this very morning 
comes a courier to Downing Street, bearing a civil hint 
from the Austrian cabinet, that, if I persevered with my 
project, such a procedure would be considered equiva- 
lent to a declaration of war ! So there we are at a dead 
stand ! 'Tis all that execrable Metternich ! Subtile 
devil ! — He's at the bottom of all the disturbances in 
Europe ! Again — here, at home, we are all on our backs ! 

I stand pledged to the . Bill. I will, and must go 

through with it. My consistency, popularity, place — 
4 



THE STATESMAN. 163 

all are at stake ! I'm bound to carry it ; and only yes- 
terday the , and , and . families — 'gad ! 

half the Upper House — have given me to understand I 

must give up them, or the Bill ! And then we are 

all at daggers-drawing among ourselves — a cabinet-coun- 
cil like a cock-pit, and eternally bickering ! 

And again — last night his Majesty behaved with marked 
coolness and hauteur; and, while sipping his claret, told 

me, with stern sangfroid, that his consent to the 

Bill was ' utterly out of the question.' I must throw 

overboard the , a measure that I have more at heart 

than any other! It is whispered that is determin- 
ed to draw me into a duel ; and, as if all this were not 
enough, I am perpetually receiving threats of assassina- 
tion ; and, in fact, a bullet hissed close past my hat the 

other day while on horseback, on my way to ! I 

can't make the thing public — 'tis impossible ; and per- 
haps the very next hour I move out, I may be shot 
through the heart ! O God ! what is to become of me ? 

Would to Heaven I had refused the seals of the 

office ! Doctor, do you think — the nonsense of medicine 
apart — do you think you can do any thing for me? Any 
thing to quiet the system — to cool the brain ? Would 
bleeding do ? — Bathing ? — What ? But mind I've not 

much time for physic ; I'm to open the question 

to-morrow night ; and then every hour to dictate fifteen 

or twenty letters ! In a word'* 

" Lord , * sir," said the servant, appearing at the 

door. 

" Ah, execrable coxcomb !" he muttered to me. " I 
know what he is come about — he has badgered me in- 
* " Le Colonel O'Morven," says the French Translator. 



164 THE STATESMAN. 

cessantly for the last six weeks ! I won't see him. Not 
at home !" he called out to the servant. He paused. 
" Stay, sirrah ! — beg his Lordship to walk up stairs." 
Then to me — " The man can command his two brothers' ' 
votes — I must have them to-morrow night. Doctor, we 
must part," hearing approaching footsteps. " I've been 
raving like a madman, I fear — But not a word to any 
one breathing ! Ah, my Lord, good evening — good 
evening !" said he, with a gaiety and briskness of tone 
and manner that utterly confounded me — walking and 
meeting his visitor half-way, and shaking him by the 
hands. Poor Stafford ! I returned to my own quiet 
home, and devoutly thanked God, who had shut me out 
from such splendid misery as I witnessed in the Right 
Honourable Charles Stafford. 

Tuesday. — Poor Stafford spoke splendidly in the 
House, last night, for upwards of three hours ; and, at 
the bottom of the reported speech, a note was added, in- 
forming the reader, that " Mr Stafford was looking bet- 
ter than they had seen him for some months, and seemed 
to enj oy excellent spirits." How little did he, who penned 
that note, suspect the true state of matters — that Mr 
Stafford owed his " better looks" and " excellent spirits" 
to an intoxicating draught of raw brandy, which alone 
enabled him to face the House. I read his speech with 
agonizing interest ; it was full of flashing fancy, and pow- 
erful argumentative eloquence, and breathed throughout 
a buoyant, elastic spirit, which nothing seemed capable 
of overpowering or depressing. But Mr Stafford might 
have saved his trouble and anxiety, — for he was worsted, 
and his bill lost by an overwhelming majority ! Oh ! 



THE STATESMAN. 165 

could his relentless opponents have seem but a glimpse 
of what I had seen, they would have spared their noble 
victim the sneers and railleries with which they pelted 
him throughout the evening. 

Friday — I this afternoon had an opportunity of con- 
versing confidentially with Mr Stafford's private secre- 
tary, who corroborated my worst fears, by communica- 
ting his own, and their reasons, amounting to infallible 
evidence, that Mr Stafford was beginning to give forth 
scintillations of madness. He would sometimes totally 
lose his recollection of what he had done during the day, 
and dictate three answers to the same letter. He would, 
at the public office, sometimes enter into a strain of con- 
versation with his astounded underlings, so absurd and 
imprudent — disclosing the profoundest secrets of state 
— as must have inevitably and instantly ruined him, had 
he not been surrounded by those who were personally 

attached to him. Mr communicated various other 

little symptoms of the same kind. Mr Stafford was once 
on his way down to the House, in his dressing-gown, and 
could be persuaded with the utmost difficulty only to 
return and change it. He would sometimes go down 
to his country house, and receive his Lady and children 
with such an extravagant — such a frantic — display of 
spirit and gaiety, as at first delighted, then surprised, 
and finally alarmed Lady Emma into a horrid suspicion 
of the real state of her husband's mind. 

I was surprised early one morning by his coachman's 
calling at my house, and desiring to see me alone ; and, 
when he was shown into my presence, with a flurried 
manner, many apologies for his "boldness" and entreaties 



166 THE STATESMAN. 

— somewhat Hibernian, to be sure, in the wording 

that I " would take no notice whatever of what he said," 
he told me, that his master's conduct had latterly been 
" very odd and queer-like." That on getting into his 
carriage, on his return from the House, Mr Stafford would 
direct him to drive five or six miles into the country, at 
the top of his speed — then back again — then to some 
distant part of London, without once alighting, and with 
no apparent object ; so that it was sometimes five or six, 
or even seven o'clock in the morning before they got 
home ! " Last night, sir," he added, " master did 'som- 
'mut uncommon 'stroardinary ; he told me to drive to 
Greenwich ; and when I gets there, he bids me pull up 

at the , and get him a draught of ale — and then he 

drinks a sup, and tells me and John to finish it — and 
then turn the horses' heads back again for town !" I gave 
the man half a guinea, and solemnly enjoined him to keep 
what he had told me a profound secret. 

What was to be done ? — what steps could we take ? 
— how deal with such a public man as Mr Stafford ? I 
felt myself in a fearful dilemma. Should I communicate 
candidly with Lady Emma? I thought it better, on the 
whole, to wait a little longer ; and was delighted to find, 
that as public business slackened a little, and Mr Staf- 
ford carried several favourite measures very successful- 
ly, and with comparatively little effort, he intermitted 
his attention to business, and was persuaded into spend- 
ing the recess at the house of one of his relatives, a score 
or two miles from town, whose enchanting house and 
grounds, and magnificent hospitalities, served to occu- 
py Mr Stafford's mind with bustling and pleasurable 
thoughts. Such a fortnight's interval did wonders for 



THE STATESMAN. 167 

him. Lady Emma, whom I had requested to write fre- 
quently to me about him, represented tilings more and 
more cheerfully in every succeeding letter, — saying, that 
the " distressing flightincss,"* which Mr Stafford had 
occasionally evinced in town, had totally disappeared ; 

that every body at House was astonished at the 

elasticity and joyousness of his spirits, and the energy, 
almost amounting to enthusiasm, with which he entered 
into the glittering gaieties and festivities that were go- 
ing on around him. " He was the life and soul of the 
party." He seemed determined to banish business from 
his thoughts, at least for a while ; and when a chance 
allusion was made to it, would put it off gaily with — 
" Sufficient for the day is the evil thereof." All this filled 
me with consolation. I dismissed the apprehensions 
which had latterly harassed my mind concerning him, 
and heartily thanked God that Mr Stafford's splendid 
powers seemed likely to be yet long spared to the coun- 
try — that the hovering fiend was beaten off from his vic- 
tim — might it be for ever ! 

The House at length resumed ; Mr Stafford returned 
to town, and all his weighty cares again gathered around 
him. Hardly a few days had elapsed, before he deliver- 
ed one of the longest, calmest, most argumentative 
speeches which had ever fallen from him. Indeed, it be- 
gan to be commonly remarked, that all he said in the 
House were a matter-of-fact, business-like air, which no- 
body could have expected from him. All this was en- 
couraging. The measure which he brought forward in 

• " Les Anglais ont le mot ' flightiness,' fuite, legerete de l'esprit : 
expression tres remarquable dans sajustesse, et sans equivalent en 
Francais." — French Translator. 



168 THE STATESMAN. 

the speech last alluded to, was hotly contested, inch by 
inch, in the House, and at last, contrary even to his own 
expectations, carried, though by an inconsiderable ma- 
jority. All his friends congratulated him on his triumph. 
" Yes, I have triumphed at last," he said, emphatical- 
ly, as he left the House. He went home, late at night, 
and alarmed — confounded his domestics, by calling them 
all up, and — it is lamentable to have to record such 
things of such a man — insisting on their illuminating 
the house — candles in every window — in front and be- 
hind ! It was fortunate that Lady Emma and her family 
had not yet returned from House, to witness this un- 
equivocal indication of returning insanity. Hehimself per- 
sonally assisted at the ridiculous task of lighting the can- 
dles, and putting them in the windows ; and when it was 
completed, actually harangued the assembled servants 
on the signal triumph he and the country had obtained 
that night in the House of Commons, and concluded by 
ordering them to extinguish the lights, and adjourn to 
the kitchen to supper, when he would presently join 
them, and give them a dozen of wine ! He was as good 
as his word : yes, Mr Stafford sat at the head of his con- 
founded servants — few in number, on account of the fa- 
mily's absence, and engaged in the most uproarious hi- 
larity ! Fortunately, most fortunately, his conduct was 
unhesitatingly attributed to intoxication — in which con- 
dition he was really carried to bed at an advanced hour 
in the morning, by those whom nothing but their bash- 
ful fears had saved from being similarly overcome by the 
wine they had been drinking. All this was told me by 
the coachman, who had communicated with me former- 
ly — and with tears, for he was an old and faithful ser- 



THE STATESMAN. 169 

vant. He assiduously kept up among his fellow-servants 
the notion that their master's drunkenness was the cause 
of his extraordinary behaviour. 

I called on him the day after, and found him sitting 
in his library dictating to his secretary, whom he direct- 
ed to withdraw as soon as I entered. He then drew his 
chair close to mine, and burst into tears. 

" Doctor, would you believe it," said he, " I was hor- 
ridly drunk last night — I can't imagine how — and am 
sure I did something or other very absurd among the 
servants. I dare not, of course, ask any of them — and 
am positively ashamed to look even my valet in the 
face !" 

" Poh, poh — Semel insanivimus omnes" I stammered, 
attempting to smile, scarcely knowing what to say. 

" Don't — don't desert me, Doctor !" he sobbed, clasp- 
ing my hand, and looking sorrowfully in my face — 
" Don't you desert me, my tried friend. Every body 
is forsaking me ! The King hates me — the Commons 
despise me — the people would have my blood, if they 
dared ! And yet why ? — What have I done ? God 
knows, I have done every thing for the best — indeed, 
indeed I have !" he continued, grasping my hand in si- 
lence. 

" There's a terrible plot hatching against me ! — 
Hush !" He rose, and bolted the door. " Did you see 
that fellow whom I ordered out on your entrance ?" — 
naming his private secretary — " Well, that infamous fel- 
low thinks he is to succeed me in my office, and has ac- 
tually gained over the King and several of the aristocra- 
cy to his interest !' 

" Nonsense — nonsense — stuff! — You have wine in 



170 THE STATESMAN. 

your head, Mr Stafford," said I, angrily, trying to choke 
down my emotions. 

" No, no — sober enough now, Doctor I'll tell 

you what (albeit unused to the melting mood) has thus 
overcome me : Lady Emma favours the scoundrel ! 
They correspond ! My children, even, are gained over ! 
— But Emma, my wife, my love, who could have thought 
if. ;» * * * j succe eded in calming him, and he be- 
gan to converse on different subjects, although the fiend 

was manifest again. " Doctor , I'll intrust you with 

a secret — a state secret ! You must know that I have 
long entertained the idea of uniting all the European 
states into one vast republic, and have at last arranged 
a scheme which will, I think, be unhesitatingly adopted. 
I have written to Prince on the subject, and ex- 
pect his answer soon ! Isn't it a grand thought !" I as- 
sented of course. " It will emblazon my name in the 
annals of eternity, beyond all Roman and all Grecian 
fame," he continued, waving his hand oratorically ; " but 
I've been — yes, yes — premature ! — My secret is safe 
with you, Doctor ? 

" Oh, certainly !" I replied, with a melancholy air, 
uttering a deep sigh. 

" But now to business. I'll tell you why I've sent 
for you." I had called unasked as the reader will recol- 
lect. " I'll tell you," he continued, taking my hand af- 
fectionately ; " Dr , I have known you now for 

many years, ever since we were at Cambridge together," 
(my heart ached at the recollection,) " and we have been 
good friends ever since. I have noticed that you have 
never asked a favour from me since I knew you. Every 
one else has teazed me — but I have never had a request 



THE STATESMAN. 171 

preferred me from you, my dear friend." He burst into 
tears, mine very nearly overflowing. There was no 
longer any doubt that Mr Stafford — the great, the gift- 
ed Mr Stafford, was sitting before me in a state of idio- 
cy ! — of madness ! I felt faint and sick as he proceed- 
ed. " Well, I thank God I have it now in my power to 
reward you — to offer you something that will fully show 
the love I bear you, and my unlimited confidence in 
your talents and integrity. I have determined to recall 

our ambassador at the Court of , and shall supply 

his place" — he looked at me with a good-natured smile 

— " by my friend Dr !" He leaned back in his 

chair, and eyed me with a triumphant, a gratified air, 
evidently preparing himself to be overwhelmed with my 
thanks. In one instant, however, " a change came o'er 
the aspect of his dream." His features grew suddenly 
disturbed, now flushed, now pale ; his manner grew rest- 
less and embarrassed ; and I felt convinced that a lucid 
interval had occurred, that a consciousness of his having 
been either saying or doing something very absurd, had 
that instant flashed across his mind ! " Ah, I see, Dr 
," he resumed, in an altered tone, speaking hesitat- 
ingly, while a vivid glance shot from his eye into my 
very soul, as though he would see whether I had detect- 
ed the process of thought which had passed through his 
mind, " you look surprised — ha, ha ! — and M'ell you 
may ! But now I'll explain the riddle. You must know 

that Lord is expecting to be our new ambassador, 

and, in fact, I must offer it him ; but — but — I wish to 
pique him into declining it, when I'll take offence — by 
— telling him — hinting carelessly, that one of my friends 
had the prior refusal of it !" 



172 THE STATESMAN. 

Did not the promptitude and plausibility of this pre- 
text savour of madness ? He hinted soon after that he 
had much business in hand, aud I withdrew. I fell back 
in my carriage, and resigned myself to bitter and ago- 
nizing reflections on the scene I had just quitted. What 
was to be done ? Mr Stafford, by some extravagant act, 
might commit himself frightfully with public affairs. 

Lady Emma, painful as the task was, must be writ- 
ten to. Measures must now be had recourse to. The 
case admitted of no farther doubt. Yes — this great — this 
unfortunate man must be put into constraint, and that 
immediately. In the tumult of my thoughts, I scarce- 
ly knew what to decide on ; but at last I ordered the 

man to drive to the houses of Sir , and Dr , 

and consult with them on the proper course to be pur- 
sued. 

***** 

Oh, God ! — Oh, horror ! — Oh, my unhappy soul ! 
— Despair! Hark — what do I hear? — Do I hear 

aright 

***** 

Have I seen aright — or is it all a dream ? — Shall I wake 
to-morrow, and find it false ? * 

* The following is the concluding note of the French Translator, 
which is here copied verbatim : — 

" Note du Trad. — La premiere partie de cette esquisse si tou- 
chante semble se rapporter a. M. Canning : la derniere a Lord Castle- 
reagh. Quel que soit au surplus ' l'homme politique,' dont l'auteur 
de ces souvenirs a voulu parler, nous ne doutons pas de la verite de 
son recit. Ces articles, dont nous publierons la suite, ont excite de 
nombreuses reclamations en Angleterre. Plus d'une famille s est 
plainte de l'indiscretion de l'auteur. On a pretendu qu'en trahissant 
les mysteres de la vie privee que sa pratique lui a fait connaitre, il 



THE STATESMAN. 173 

avait viole les lois imposees par la morale, la religion dumedicin. Les 
couleurs employees par l'ecrivain sont d'ailleurs d'une realite frappante. 
Chatham est mort, extenue par ses travaux parliamentaires ; il est 
tombi sans connaissance en prononcant son dernier discours a la 
Chambre des Lords. Sheridan et Burke avaient l'intelllgence af- 
faiblie quand ils ont expire. Castlereagh et Samuel Romilly se 
oat donne la mort. Canning a peri devore par ses anxietes d'homme 
d'etat." 



( 174 ) 



CHAPTER IV. 



A SLIGHT COLD. 



Consider " a slight cold" to be in the nature of a 
chill, caught by a sudden contact with your grave : or 
as occasioned by the damp finger of Death laid upon 
you, as it were, to mark you for his, in passing to the 
more immediate object of his commission. Let this be 
called croaking, and laughed at as such, by those who 
are " awearied of the painful round of life," and are on 
the look-out for their dismissal from it ; but be learnt 
off by heart, and remembered as having the force and 
truth of gospel, by all those who would " measure out 
their span upon the earth," and are conscious of any con- 
stitutional flaw or feebleness ; who are distinguished by 
any such tendency death-ward, as long necks, — narrow, 
chicken chests — very fair complexions — exquisite sym- 
pathy with atmospheric variations ; or, in short, exhibit 
any symptoms of an asthmatic or consumptive charac- 
ter, — if they choose to neglect a slight cold. 

Let not those complain of being bitten by a reptile, 
which they have cherished to maturity in their very bo- 
soms, when they might have crushed it in the egg ! Now, 



A SLIGHT COLD. 175 

if we call " a slight cold" the egg, * and pleurisy — in- 
flammation of the lungs — asthma — consumption, the 
venomous reptile — the matter will be no more than cor- 
rectly figured. There are many ways in which this 
" egg" may be deposited and hatched. Going sudden- 
ly, slightly clad, from a heated into a cold atmosphere, 
especially if you can contrive to be in a state of perspi- 
ration — sitting or standing in a draught, however slight, 
— it is the breath of Death, reader, and laden with the 
vapours of the grave ! Lying in damp beds, for there his 
cold arms shall embrace you — continuing in wet cloth- 
ing, and neglecting wet feet, — these, and a hundred 
others, are some of the ways in which you may slowly, 
imperceptibly, but surely, cherish the creature, that shall 
at last creep inextricably inwards, and lie coiled about 
your very vitals. Once more, again — again — again — 
I would say, attend to this, all ye who think it a smal 
matter to — neglect a slight cold ! 

So many painful — I may say dreadful illustrations ;i 
the truth of the above remarks, are strewn over tl t 
pages of my Diary, that I scarcely know which of them 
to select. The following melancholy " instance" will, I 
hope, prove as impressive, as I think it interesting. 

Captain C had served in the Peninsular cam- 
paigns with distinguished merit ; and on the return of 
the British army, sold out, and determined to enjoy in 
private life an ample fortune bequeathed him by a dis- 
tant relative. At the period I am speaking of, he wis 
in his twenty-ninth or thirtieth year ; and in person one 
of the very finest men I ever saw in my life. There 
was an air of ease and frankness about his demeanour, 

• Omnium prope quibus affligimur morborum origo et quasi semen, 
says an intelligent medical writer of the last century. 



176 A SLIGHT COLP. 

dashed with a little pensiveness, which captivated every- 
body with whom he conversed — but the ladies espe- 
cially. It seemed the natural effect produced on a bold 
but feeling heart, by frequent scenes of sorrow. Is not 
such a one formed to win over the heart of woman ? 
Indeed, it seemed so ; for, at the period I am speaking 
of, our English ladies were absolutely infatuated about 
the military ; and a man who had otherwise but little 
chance, had only to appear in regimentals, to turn the 
scale in his favour. One would have thought the race 
of soldiery was about to become suddenly extinct ; for 
in almost every third marriage that took place within 
two years of the magnificent event at Waterloo — whe- 
ther rich or poor, high or low, a redcoat was sure to be 
the " principal performer." Let the reader then, being 
apprized of this influenza — for what else was it ? — set 
before his imagination the tall, commanding figure of 
Captain C , his frank and noble bearing — his excel- 
lent family — his fortune, upwards of four thousand a-year 
— and calculate the chances in his favour ! 

I met him several times in private society, during his 
stay in town, and have his image vividly in my eye as 
he appeared on the last evening we met. He wore a 
blue coat, white waistcoat, and an ample black necker- 
chief. His hair was very light, and disposed with natu- 
ral grace over a remarkably fine forehead, the left cor- 
ner of which bore the mark of a slight sabre cut. His 
eye, bright hazel — clear and full — which you would in 
your own mind instantly compare to that of 

Mara — to threaten and command, 

was capable of an expression of the most winning and 
soul-subduing tenderness. Much more might I say in 



A SLIGHT COLD. 177 

his praise, and truly — but that I have a melancholy end 
in view. Suffice it to add, that wherever he moved, he 
seemed the sun of the social circle, gazed on by many 
a soft starlike eye, with trembling rapture — the envied 
object of 

Nods, becks, and wreathed smiles, 

from all that was fair and beautiful. 

He could not remain long disengaged. Intelligence 
soon found its way to town of his having formed an 

attachment to Miss Ellen , a wealthy and beautiful 

northern heiress, whose heart soon surrendered to its 
skilful assailant. Every body was pleased with the match 
and pronounced it suitable in all respects. T had an op- 
portunity of seeing Captain C and Miss to- 
gether at an evening party in London ; for the young 
lady's family spent the season in town, and were, of 
course, attended by the Captain, who took up his quar- 
ters in Street. A handsome couple they looked. 

This was nearly twelve months after their engage- 
ment ; and most of the preliminaries had been settled on 
both sides, and the event was fixed to take place with- 
in a fortnight of Miss and family's return to 

shire. The last day of their stay in town, they formed 
a large and gay water party, and proceeded up the river 
a little beyond Richmond, in a beautiful open boat, be- 
longing to Lord , a cousin of the Captain's. It was 

rather late before their return ; and long ere their arrival 
at Westminster stairs, the wind and rain combined 
against the party, and assailed them with a fury, against 
which their awning formed but an insufficient protection. 
Captain C . had taken an oar for the last few miles ; 

VOL. II. M 



178 A SLIGHT COLD. 

and as they had to pull against a strong tide, his task 
was not a trifling one. When he resigned his oar, he 
was in a perfect bath of perspiration ; but he drew on 
his coat, and resumed the seat he had formerly occupied 

beside Miss , at the back of the boat. The awning 

unfortunately got rent immediately behind where they 
sat ; and what with the splashing of the water on his 
back, and the squally gusts of wind which incessantly 

burst upon them, Captain C got thoroughly wet and 

chilled. Miss grew uneasy about him, but he 

laughed off her apprehensions, assuring her that they 
were groundless, and that he was " too old a soldier" to 
suffer from such a trifling thing as a little " wind and 
wet." On leaving the boat, he insisted on accompany- 
ing them home to Square, and stayed there up- 
wards of an hour, busily conversing with them about 
their departure on the morrow. While there he took a 
glass or two of wine, but did not change his clothes. On 
returning to his lodgings, he was too busily and pleasant- 
ly occupied with thoughts about his approaching nup- 
tials, to advert to the necessity of using more precau- 
tions against cold, before retiring to bed. He sat down 
in his dressing-room, without ordering a fire to be lit, and 
wrote two or three letters ; after which he got into bed. 

Now, how easy would it have been for Captain C 

to obviate any possible ill consequences, by simply ring- 
ing for warm water to put his feet in, and a basin of 
gruel, or posset ? He did not do either of these, how- 
ever ; thinking it would be time enough to " cry out 
when he was hurt." In the morning he rose, and though 
a little indisposed, immediately after breakfast drove to 
Square, to see off Miss and the family ; for 



A SLIGHT COLD. 179 

it had been arranged that he should remain behind a day 
or two, in order to complete a few purchases of jewel- 
lery, &c, and then follow the party to shire. He 

rode on horseback beside their travelling carriage a few 
miles out of town ; and then took his leave and return- 
ed. On his way home he called at my house, but finding 
me out, left his card, with a request that I would come 
and see him in the evening. About seven o'clock I was 
with him. I found him in his dressing-gown, in an easy 
chair, drinking coffee. He looked rather dejected, and 
spoke in a desponding tone. He complained of the com- 
mon symptoms of catarrh ; and detailed to me the ac- 
count which I have just laid before the reader. I re- 
monstrated with him on his last night's imprudence. 

" Ah, Doctor , I wish to Heaven I had rowed on 

to Westminster, tired as I was !" said he — " Good God, 
what if I have caught my death of cold ? — You cannot 
conceive how singular my sensations are." 

" That's generally the way with patients after the mis- 
chief's done," I replied with a smile " But come ! come ! 

only take care of yourself, and matters are not at all des- 
perate !" 

" Heigh ho !" 

" Sighing like a furnace," I continued, gaily, on hear- 
ing him utter several sighs in succession — " You sons 
of Mars make hot work of it, both in love and war !" — 
Again he sighed. " Why, what's the matter, Captain ?" 

" Oh, nothing — nothing," he replied, languidly, " I 
suppose a cold generally depresses one's spirits — is it 
bo? Is it a sign of a severe" 

" It is a sign that a certain person" 

" Pho, Doctor, pho!"said he, with an air of lassitude — 



180 A SLIGHT COLD. 

" don't think me so childish ! — I'll tell you candidly what 
has contributed to depress my spirits. For this last 
week or so, I've had a strange sort of conviction 
that" 

" Nonsense — none of your nervous fancies" 

" Ah, but I have Doctor," he continued, scarcely no- 
ticing the interruption; " I've felt a sort of presentiment 
— a foreboding that — that — that — something or other 
would ocour to prevent my marriage !" 

" Oh, tush — tush ! — every one has these low nervous 
fancies that is not accustomed to sickness." 

" Well — it may be so — I hope it may be nothing 
more ; but I seem to hear a voice whispering — or at 
least, to be under an influence to that effect, that the 
cup will be dashed brimful from my lips — a fearful slip ! 
It seems as if my Ellen were too great a happiness for 
the Fates to allow me." 

" Too great a fiddlestick, Captain ! — so your school- 
boy has a fearful apprehension that he cannot outlive the 
day of his finally leaving school — too glorious and hap- 
py an era !" 

" I know well what you allude to — but mine is a calm 
and rational apprehension" 

" Come, come, Captain C , this is going too far. 

Raillery apart, however, I can fully enter into your feel- 
ings," — I continued, perceiving his morbid excitement. — 
" 'Tis but human nature to feel trepidation and appre- 
hension when approaching some great crisis of one's ex- 
istence. One is apt to give unfavourable possibilities an 
undue preponderance over probabilities ; and it is easi- 
ly to be accounted for, on the known tendency we find 
within ourselves, on ordinary occasions, to shape events 



A SLIGHT COLD. 181 

according to our wishes — and in our over-anxiety to 
guard against such" 

" Very metaphysical — very true, I dare say" 

" Well — to be rnatter-of-fact — /had all your feelings 
— perhaps greatly aggravated — at the time of my own 
marriage" 

" Eh ? — indeed ? — Had you really ?" he inquired, 
eagerly, laying his hand on mine — continuing, with an 
air of anxious curiosity — " Did you ever feel a sort of 
conviction that some mysterious agency was awaiting 
your approach towards the critical point, and, whenjust 
within reach of your object, would suddenly smite you 
down ?" 

" Ay, to be sure," said I, smiling, " a mere flutter of 
feeling — which you see others have besides yourself; 
but that you — trained to confront danger — change — 
casualties of all sorts— that you — you, with your frame 
of Herculean build" 

" Well — a truce to your banter !" he interrupted me, 
somewhat impatiently ; " I shouldn't mind taking you 
ten to one that I don't live to be married, after all !" 

" Come, this amounts to a symptom of your indispo- 
sition. You have got more fever on you than I thought 
— and you grow lightheaded ! — you must really get to 
bed, and in the morning all these fantasies will be gone." 

" Well — I hope in God they may ! But they hor- 
ridly oppress me ! I own that latterly I've given in a 
little to fatalism." 

This won't do at all, thought I, taking my pen in 
hand, and beginning to write a prescription. 

" Are you thirsty at all ? any catching in the side 
when you breathe ? Any cough ?" &c. &c. said I, ask- 



182 A SLIGHT COLD. 

ing him the usual routine of questions. I feared, from 
the symptoms he described, that he had caught a very 
severe, and possibly obstinate, cold — so I prescribed ac- 
tive medicines. Amongst others, I recollect ordering 
him one-fourth of a grain of tartarized antimony every 
four hours, for the purpose of encouraging the insensible 
perspiration, and thereby determining the fever outwards. 
I then left him, promising to call about noon the next 
day, expressing my expectations of finding him perfect- 
ly recovered from his indisposition. I found him the 
following morning in bed, thoroughly under the influ- 
ence of the medicines I had prescribed, and, in fact, 
much better in every respect. The whole surface of his 
body was damp and clammy to the touch, and he had 
exactly the proper sensation of nausea — both occasioned 
by the antimony. I contented myself with prescribing 
a repetition of the medicines. 

" Well, Captain, and what has become of your gloomy 
forebodings of last night ?" I inquired, with a smile. 

" Why — hem ! I'm certainly not quite so desponding 
as I was last night ; but still, the goal — the goal's not 
reached yet ! I'm not well yet — and, even if I were, 
there's a good fortnight's space for contingencies !" * * 
I enjoined him to keep house for a day or two longer, 
and persevere with the medicines during that time, in 
order to his complete recovery, and he reluctantly ac- 
quiesced. He had written to inform Miss , that, 

owing to " a slight cold," and his jeweller's disappoint- 
ing him about the trinkets he had promised, his stay in 
town would be prolonged two or three days. This cir- 
cumstance had fretted and worried him a good deal. 

One of the few enjoyments which my professional en- 



A SLIGHT COLD. 183 

gagements permitted me, was the opera, where I might 
for a while forget the plodding realities of life, and 
wander amid the magnificent regions of music and ima- 
gination. Few people, indeed, are so disposed to "make 
the most" of their time at the opera as medical men, to 
whom it is a sort of stolen pleasure ; they sit on thorns, 
liable to be summoned out immediately — to exchange 
the bright scenes of fairyland for the dreary bedside of 
sickness and death. I may not, perhaps, speak the feel- 
ings of my more phlegmatic brethren ; but the consi- 
derations above named always occasion me to sit listen- 
ing to what is going on in a state of painful suspense 
and nervousness, which is aggravated by the slightest 
noise at the box-door — by the mere trying of the handle. 
On the evening of the day in question, a friend of my 
wife's had kindly allowed us the use of her box ; and we 
were both sitting in our places at a musical banquet of 
unusual splendour; for it was Catalani's benefit. In 
looking round the house, during the interval between 
the opera and ballet, I happened to cast my eye towards 
the opposite bgx, at the moment it was entered by two 
gentlemen of very fashionable appearance. Fancying 
that the person of one of them was familiar to me, I 
raised my glass, my sight being rather short. I almost 
let it fall out of my hand with astonishment — for one of 

the gentlemen was — Captain C ! — he whom I had 

that morning left ill in bed ! Scarcely believing that I 
had seen aright, I redirected my glass to the same spot, 
but there was no mistaking the stately and handsome 
person of my patient. There he stood, with the gay, 
and even rather flustered air of one who has but recently 
adjourned thither from the wine-table ! He seemed in 



184 A SLIGHT COLD. 

very high spirits — his face flushed — chatting incessant- 
ly with his companion, and smiling and nodding fre- 
quently towards persons in various parts of the house. 
Concern and wonder at his rashness — his madness — in 
venturing out under such circumstances, kept me for 
some time breathless. Could I really be looking at my 

patient, Captain C ? him whom I had left in bed, 

under the influence ofstrongsudorifics? — who had faith- 
fully promised that he would keep within doors for two 
or three days longer ? What had induced him to trans- 
gress the order of his medical attendant — thus to put 
matters in a fair train for verifying his own gloomy 
apprehensions expressed but the evening before ? — 
Thoughts like these made me so uneasy, that, after fail- 
ing to attract his eye, I resolved to go round to his box 
and remonstrate with him. After tapping at the door 
several times without being heard, on account of the 
loud tones in which they were laughing and talking, the 
door was opened. 

" Good God ! Doctor !" exclaimed Captain 

C , in amazement, rising and giving me his hand. 

" Why, what on earth is the matter ? What has brought 
you here ? Is any thing wrong ? Heavens ! Have you 

heard any thing about Miss ?" he continued, all in 

a breath, turning pale. 

" Not a breath — not a word — But what has brought 
you here, Captain ? Are you stark staring mad ?" I 
replied, as I continued grasping his hand, which was 
even then damp and clammy. 

" Why — why — nothing particular," he stammered, 
startled by my agitated manner. " What is there so 
very wonderful in my coming to the opera ? Have I 
done wrong, eh ?" he inquired, after a pause. 



A SLIGHT COLD. 185 

" You have acted like a madman, Captain C ! in 

venturing even out of your bedroom, while under influ- 
ence of the medicines you were taking !" 

" Oh, nonsense, my dear Doctor — nonsense ! What 
harm can there be ? I felt infinitely better after you left 
me this morning ;" and he proceeded to explain, that 
his companion, to whom he introduced me, was Lieu- 
tenant , the brother of his intended bride ; that he 

had that morning arrived in town from Portsmouth, had 
called on the Captain, and, after drinking a glass or two 
of champagne, and forcing the Captain to join him, had 
prevailed on him to accompany him to dinner at his 

hotel. Lieutenant overcame all his scruples — 

laughed at the idea of his " slight cold," and said it 
would be " unkind to refuse the brother of Ellen !" — so, 
after dinner they both adjourned to the opera. I nodded 
towards the door, and we both left the box for a mo- 
ment or two. 

" Why, Doctor , you don't mean to say that I'm 

running any real risk ?" he inquired, with some trepida- 
tion. " What could I do, you know, when the Lieu- 
tenant there — only just returnedfrom his cruise — Ellen's 
brother, you know" — 

" Excuse me, Captain Did you take the me- 
dicines I ordered regularly, up to the time of your 
going out ?'' I inquired anxiously, 

" To be sure I did — punctual as clockwork ; and, 
egad ! now, I think of it," he added, eagerly, " I took a 
double dose of the powders, just before leaving my room, 
by way of making ' assurance doubly sure' you know — 
ha ha! Right, eh?" 

" Have you perspired during the day, as usual i" 



186 A SLIGHT COLD. 

" Oh, profusely — profusely ! Egad, I must have 
sweated all the fever out long ago, I think ! I hadn't 
been in the open air half an hour, when my skin was as 
dry as yours — as dry as ever it was in my life. Nay, 
in fact, I felt rather chilled than otherwise." 

" Allow me, Captain — did you drink much at din- 
ner?" 

" Why — I own — I think I'd my share ; these tars, 
you know — such cursed soakers" 

" Let me feel your pulse," said I. It was full and 
thrilling, beating upwards of one hundred a minute. 
My looks, I suppose, alarmed him ; for, while I was feel- 
ing his pulse, he grew very pale, and leaned against the 
box-door, saying, in a fainter tone than before, " I'm 
afraid I've done wrong in coming out. Your looks alarm 
me." 

" You have certainly acted very — very imprudently ; 
but I hope the mischief is not irremediable," said I, in 
as cheerful a tone as I could, for I saw that he was grow- 
ing excessively agitated. " At all events, ^/"you'll take 
my advice" 

" If! — there's no need of taunting me" 

" Well, then, you'll return home instantly, and muffle 
yourself up in your cloak as closely as possible." 

" I will ! By the way, do you remember the bet I 
offered you," said he, with a sickly smile, wiping the 
perspiration from his forehead. " I — I — fear you may 
take it, and win ! Good God ! what evil star is over 

me ? Would to Heaven this Lieutenant had never 

crossed my path ! — I'll return home this instant, and do 
all you recommend ; and, for God's sake, call early in 
the morning, whether I send for you or not ! — By ! 



A SLIGHT COLD. 187 

your looks and manner have nearly given me the brain 
fever !" — I took my leave, promising to be with him 
early ; and advising him to take a warm bath the mo- 
ment it could be procured — to persevere with the pow- 
ders — and lie in bed till I called. But, alas ! alas ! alas ! 
the mischief had been done ! 

" Dear me, what a remarkably fine-looking man that 
Captain C is," said my wife, as soon as I had re- 
seated myself beside her. 

" He is a dead man, my love, if you like !" I replied, 
with a melancholy air. The little incident just record- 
ed, made me too sad to sit out the ballet, so we left very 
early, and I do not think we interchanged more than a 
word or two in going home ; and those were, " Poor 
Miss !" — " Poor Captain C !" I do not pre- 
tend to say that even the rash conduct of Captain C , 

and its probable consequences, could in every instance 
warrant such gloomy fears ; but, in his case, I felt with 
himself a sort of superstitious apprehension, I knew not 
why. 

I found him, on calling in the morning, exhibiting the 
incipient symptoms of inflammation of the lungs. He 
complained of increasing difficulty of breathing — a sense 
of painful oppression and constriction all over his chest, 
and a hard harassing cough, attended with excruciating 
pain. His pulse quivered and thrilled under the finger, 
like a tense harp-string after it has been twanged ; the 
whole surface of his body was dry and heated ; his face 
was flushed, and full of anxiety. A man of his robust 
constitution, and plethoric habit, was one of the very 
worst subjects of inflammation ! I took from the arm, 
myself, a very large quantity of blood — which present- 



188 A SLIGHT COLD. 

ed the usual appearance in such cases — and prescribed 
active lowering remedies. But neither these measures, 
nor the application of a large blister in the evening — 
when I again saw him — seemed to make any impres- 
sion on the complaint, so I ordered him to be bled again. 

Poor Captain C ! From that morning he prepared 

himself for a fatal termination of his illness, and lament- 
ed, in the most passionate terms, that he had not acted 
up to my advice in time ! 

On returning home from my evening visit, I found 
an express, requiring my instant attendance on a lady 
of distinction in the country, an old patient of mine ; 
and was obliged to hurry off, without having time to do 
more than commit the care of Captain C , and an- 
other case equally urgent, to Dr D , a friend of mine 

close by, imploring him to keep up the most active treat- 
ment with the Captain ; and promising him that I should 
return during the next day. I was detained in the coun- 
try for two days, during which I scarcely left Lady 

's bedroom an instant ; and before I left for town 

she expired, under heart-rending circumstances. On 
returning to town, I found several urgent cases requir- 
ing my instant attention, and first and foremost that of 

poor Captain C . Dr D was out, so I hurried 

to my patient's bedside at once. It cannot injure any 
one at this distance of time, to state plainly, that the 
poor Captain's case had been most deplorably misman- 
aged during my absence. It was owing to no fault of 

my friend Dr D , who had done his utmost, and had 

his own large practice to attend to. He was therefore 
under the necessity of committing the case to the more 
immediate superintendence of a young and inexperienced 



A SLIGHT COLD. 189 

member of the profession, who, in his ignorance and ti- 
midity, threw aside the only chances for Captain C 'a 

life, — repeated blood-letting. Only once did Mr 

bleed him, and then took away about four ounces ! Un- 
der the judicious management of Dr D the inroads 

of the inflammation had been sensibly checked ; but it 
rallied again, and made head against the languid resist- 
ance continued by the young apothecary ; so that I ar- 
rived but in time to witness the closing scene. 

He was absolutely withering under the fever : the dif- 
ficulty with which he drew his breath amounted almost 
to suffocation. He had a dry hacking cough — the op- 
pression of his chest was greater than ever ; and what 
he expectorated was of a black colour ! He was deliri- 
ous, and did not know me. He fancied himself on the 

river rowing — then endeavouring to protect Miss 

from the inclemency of the weather ; and the expres- 
sions of moving tenderness which he coupled with her 
name, were heart-breaking. Then, again, he thought 

himself in shire, superintending the alterations of 

his house, which was getting ready for their reception 
on their marriage. He mentioned my name, and said, 

" What a gloomy man that Dr is, Ellen ! he keeps 

one stewing in bed for a week, if one has but a common 
cold !" 

Letters were despatched into shire, to acquaint 

his family, and that of Miss , with the melancholy 

tidings of his dangerous illness. Several of his relations 

soon made their appearance ; but as Miss 's party 

did not go direct home, but staid a day or two on the 
way, I presume the letters reached House long be- 
fore their arrival, and were not seen by the family be- 
fore poor Captain C had expired. 



190 A SLIGHT COLD. 

I called again on him in the evening. The first glance 
at his countenance sufficed to show me that he could 
not survive the night. I found that the cough and spit- 
ting had ceased suddenly ; he felt no pain : his feeble, 
varying pulse, indicated that the powers of nature were 
rapidly sinking. His lips had assumed a fearfully livid 
hue, and were occasionally retracted so as to show all 
his teeth ; and his whole countenance was fallen. He 
was quite sensible, and aware that he was dying. He 
bore the intelligence with noble fortitude, saying, it was 
but the fruit of his own imprudence and folly. He se- 
veral times ejaculated, " Oh, Ellen — Ellen — Ellen !" 
and shook his head feebly, with a woful despairing look 
upwards, but without shedding a tear. He was past all 
display of active emotion ! 

" Should'nt you call me a suicide, Doctor ?" 

said he, mournfully, on seeing me sitting beside him. 

" Oh, assuredly not ! Dismiss such thoughts, dear 
Captain, I beg ! We are all in the hands of the Al- 
mighty, Captain. It is He who orders our ends," said 
I, gently grasping his hand, which lay passive on the 
counterpane. " Well, I suppose it is so ! His will be 
done !" he exclaimed, looking reverently upwards, and 
closing his eyes. I rose, and walked to the table, on 
which stood his medicine, to see how much of it he had 

taken, There lay an unopened letter from Miss ! 

It had arrived by that morning's post, and bore the post- 
mark of the town at which they were making their halt 
by the way. Captain 's friends considered it bet- 
ter not to agitate him, by informing him of its arrival ; 

for as Miss could not be apprized of his illness, it 

might be of a tenor to agitate and tantalize him. My 



■A SLIGHT COLD. 191 

heart ached to see it. I returned presently to my seat 
beside him. 

" Doctor," he whispered, " will you be good enough 
to look for my white waistcoat — it is hanging in the 
dressing-room, and feel in the pocket for a little paper 
parcel ?" I rose, did as he directed, and brought him 
what he asked for. 

" Open it, and you'll see poor Ellen's wedding-ring 
and guard, which I purchased only a day or two ago. 
I wish to see them," said he, in a low but firm tone of 
voice. I removed the wool, and gazed at the glistening 
trinkets in silence, as did Captain C 

" They will do to wed me to the worm !" said he, 
extending towards me the little finger of his left hand. 
The tears nearly blinding me, I did as he wished, but 
could not get them past the first joint. 

" Ah, Ellen has a small finger !" said he. A tear fell 
from my eye upon his hand. He looked at me for an 
instant with apparent surprise. " Never mind, Doctor 
— that will do — I see they won't go farther. Now, let 
me die with them on ; and when I am no more, let them 
l>e given to Ellen. I have wedded her in my heart — 
she is my wife !" He continued gazing fixedly at the 
finger on which the rings were. 

" Of course, she cannot know of my illness ?' he in- 
quired faintly, looking at me. I shook my head. 

" Good. 'Twill break her little heart, I'm afraid !" 
Those were the last words I ever heard him utter ; for, 
finding that my feelings were growing too excited, and 
that the Captain seemed disposed to sleep, I rose and 

left the room, followed by Lieutenant , who had 

been sitting at his friend's bedside all day long, and look- 



192 A SLIGHT COLD. 

ed dreadfully pale and exhausted. " Doctor," said he, 
in a broken voice, as we stood together in the hall, " I 
have murdered my friend, and he thinks I have. He 
won't speak to me, nor look at me ! He hasn't opened 
his lips to me once, though I've been at his bedside 
night and day. Yes," he continued, almost choking, 
" I've murdered him ; and what is to become of my 
sister ?" I made him no reply, for my heart was full. 

In the morning I found Captain C laid out ; for 

he had died about midnight. 

Vew scenes are fraught with more solemnity and awe, 
none more chilling to the heart, than the chamber of 
the recent dead. It is like the cold porch of eternity ! 
The sepulchral silence, the dim light, the fearful order 
and repose of all around — a sick-room, as it were, sud- 
denly changed into a charnel-house — the central object 
in the gloomy picture, the bed — the yellow effigy of him 
that was, looking coldly out from the white unruffled 
sheets — the lips that must speak no more — the eyes that 
are shut for ever ! 

The features of Captain C were calm and com- 
posed ; but was it not woful to see that fine countenance 
surrounded with the close crimped cap, injuring its out- 
line and proportions ! — Here, reader, lay the victim of 

A SLIGHT COLD ! 



( 193 ) 



CHAPTER V. 



RICH AND POOR. 



A remarkable and affecting juxtaposition of the two 
poles, so to speak, of human condition — affluence and 
poverty — rank and degradation — came under my notice 
during the early part of the year 181 — The dispensa- 
tions of Providence are fearful levellers of the factitious 
distinctions among men ! Little boots it to our common 
foe, whether he pluck his prey from the downy satin- 
curtained couch, or the wretched pallet of a prison or a 
workhouse ! The oppressive splendour of rank and 
riches, indeed ! — what has it of solace or mitigation to 
him bidden "to turn his pale face to the wall" — to look 
his last on life, its toys and tinselries ? 

The Earl of 's * old tormentor, the gout, had laid 

close siege to him during the early part of the winter of 
181—, and inflicted on him agonies of unusual intensity 
and duration. It left him in a very low and poor state 
of health, his spirits utterly broken — and his temper 
soured and irritable, to an extent that was intolerable to 

• Le Due de ! — French Translator. 

VOL. II. N 



194 RICH AND POOR. 

those around him. The discussion of a political ques- 
tion, in the issue of which his interests were deeply in- 
volved, seduced him into an attendance at the House of 
Lords, long before he was in a fit state for removal, even 
from his bedchamber ; and the consequences of such a 
shattered invalid's premature exposure to a bleak win- 
ter's wind may be easily anticipated. He was laid again 
on a bed of suffering ; and having, through some sudden 
pique, dismissed his old family physician, his lordship 
was pleased to summon me to supply his place. 

The Earl of was celebrated for his enormous 

riches and the more than Oriental scale of luxury and 
magnificence on which his establishment was conducted. 
The slanderous world farther gave him credit for a dis- 
position of the most exquisite selfishness, which, added 
to his capricious and choleric humour, made him a very 
unenviable companion, even in health. What, then, 
must such a man be in sickness ? I trembled at the task 
that was before me ! It Avas a bitter December even- 
ing on which I paid him my first visit. Nearly the 
whole of the gloomy, secluded street in which his man- 
sion was situated, was covered with straw ; and men 
were stationed about it to prevent noise in any shape. 
The ample knocker was muffled and the bell unhung, 
lest the noise of either shoidd startle the aristocratical in- 
valid. The instant my carriage, with its muffled roll, 
drew up, the hall-door sprang open as, if by magic ; for 
the watchful porter had orders to anticipate all comers, 
on pain of instant dismissal. Thick matting was laid 
over the hall floor — double carpeting covered the stair- 
cases and landings, from the top to the bottom of the 
house — and all the door-edges were lined with list- How 



RICH AND POOR. 195 

could sickness or death presume to enter, in spite of 
such precautions ! 

A servant, in large list-slippers, asked me, in a whis- 
per, my name ; and, on learning it, said the Countess 
wished to have a few moment's interview with me be- 
fore I was shown up to his lordship. I was therefore 
led into a magnificent apartment, where her ladyship, 
with two grown-up daughters, and a young man in the 
Guards' uniform, sat sipping coffee — for they had but 
just left the dining-room. The Countess looked pale 

and dispirited. " Doctor ," said she, after a few 

words of course had been interchanged, " I'm afraid 
you'll have a trying task to manage his lordship. We 
are all worn out with attending on him, and yet he says 

we neglect him ! Nothing can please or satisfy him ! 

What do you imagine was the reason of his dismissing 
Dr ? Because he persisted in attributing the pre- 
sent seizure to his lordship's imprudent visit to the 
House !" 

" Well, your ladyship knows I can but attempt to do 
my duty" — I was answering, when at that instant the 
door was opened, and a sleek servant, ail pampered and 
powdered, in a sotto voce tone, informed the Countess 
that his lordship had been inquiring for me. " Oh, for 
God's sake, go — go immediately," said her ladyship, 
eagerly, " or we shall have no peace for a week to come ! 

— I shall, perhaps-, follow you in a few minutes ! But 

mind — please, not a breath about Dr 's leaving !" 

I bowed, and left the room. I followed the servant up 
the noble staircase — vases and statues, with graceful 
lamps, at every landing — and was presently ushered in- 
to the " Blue-beard" chamber. Oh, the sumptuous 



196 RICH AND POOR. 

the splendid air of every thing within it ! Flowered, 
festooned satin window draperies — flowered satin bed- 
curtains, gathered together at the top bya golden eagle — 
flowered satin counterpane ! Beautiful Brussels muffled 
the tread of your feet, and delicately -carved chairs and 
couches solicited to repose ! The very chamber lamps, 
glistening in soft radiance from snowy marble stands in 
the farther corners of the room, were tasteful and elegant 
in the extreme^ In short, grandeur and elegance seemed 
to outvie one another, both in the materials and disposi- 
tion of every thing around me. I never saw any thing 
like it before, nor have I since. I never in my life sat 
in such a yielding luxurious chair as the one I was beck- 
oned to, beside the Earl. There was, in a word, every 
thing calculated to cheat a man into a belief, that he 
belonged to a " higher order" than that of " poor hu- 
manity." 

But for the Lord — the owner of all this — my patient. 
Ay, there he lay, embedded in down, amid snowy linen 
and figured satin — all that was visible of him being his 
little sallow wrinkled visage, worn with illness, age, and 
fretfulness, peering curiously at me from the depths of 
his pillow — and his left hand, lying outside the bed- 
clothes, holding a white embroidered handkerchief, with 
which he occasionally wiped his clammy features. 

" U — u — gh ! U — u — gh" he groaned, or rather gasp- 
ed, as a sudden twinge of pain twisted and corrugated 
his features almost out of all resemblance to humanity — 
till they looked more like those of a strangled ape, than 

the Right Honourable the Earl of . The paroxysm 

presently abated. " You've been — down stairs — more 
than — five minutes — I believe — Dr ?" he commen- 



RICH AND POOR. 197 

ced in a petulant tone, pausing for breath between every 
two words — his features not yet recovered from their 
contortions. I bowed. 

" I flatter myself — it was / — who sent — for you, Dr 

, and — not her ladyship," — he continued. I bowed 

again, and was going to explain, when he resumed. 

" Ah ! I see ! Heard — the whole story of Dr 's 

dismissal — ugh — ugh — eh ? — May I — beg the favour — 
of hearing — her ladyship's version — of the affair ?" 

" My lord, I heard nothing but the simple fact of Di 
's having ceased to attend your lordship" 

" Ah ! — ceased to attend! Good !" he repeated with 
a sneer. 

" Will your lordship permit me to ask if you have 
much pain just now?" I inquired, anxious to terminate 
his splenetic display. I soon discovered that he was in 
the utmost peril ; for there was every symptom of the 
gout's having been driven from its old quarter, — the ex- 
tremities, to the vital organs, — the stomach and bowels. 
One of the most startling symptoms was the sensation 
he described as resembling that of a platter of ice laid 
upon the pit of his stomach ; and he complained also of 
increasing nausea. Though not choosing to apprize him 
of the exact extent of his danger, I strove so to shape my 
questions and comments that he might infer his being in 
dangerous circumstances. He either did not, however, 
or would not, comprehend me. I told him that the re- 
medies I should recommend 

" Ah — by the way" — said he, turning abruptly to- 
wards me, " it mustn't be the execrable stuff that Dr 

half poisoned me with ! Gad, sir — it had a most diabo- 
lical stench — garlic was a pine-apple to it — and here was 



198 RICH AND POOR. 

I obliged to lie soaked in eau de Cologne, and half stif- 
led with musk. He did it on purpose — he had a spite 
against me !" I begged to be shown the medicines he 
complained of, and his valet brought me the half-emp- 
tied vial. I found my predecessor had been exhibiting 
assafoetida and musk — and could no longer doubt the 
coincidence of his view of the case and mine. 

" I'm afraid, my lord," said I, hesitatingly, " that I 
shall find myself compelled to continue the use of the 
medicines which Dr prescribed" 

" I'll be if you do, though — that's all" — replied 

the Earl, continuing to mutter indistinctly some insult- 
ing words about my " small acquaintance with thephar- 
macopceia." I took no notice of it. 

" Would your lordship," said I, after a pause, " ob- 
ject to the use of camphor or ammonia ?" * 

" I object to the use of every medicine but one, and 
that is, a taste of some potted boar's flesh, which my ne- 
phew, I understand, has this morning sent from abroad." 

" My lord, it is utterly out of the question. Your 
lordship, it is my duty to inform you, is in extremely 
dangerous circumstances" 

" The devil I am !" he exclaimed, with an incredulous 

smile. " Pho, pho ! So Dr said. According to 

him, I ought to have resigned about a week ago ! Egad 
— but — but — what symptom of danger is there now?" 
he inquired, abruptly. 

* His lordship, witli whom, as possibly I should have earlier in- 
formed the reader, I had some little personal acquaintance before be- 
ing called in professionally, had a tolerable knowledge of medicine ; 
which will account for my mentioning what remedies I intended to ex- 
hibit. In fact, he insisted on knowing. 



RICH AND POOR. 199 

" Why, one — in fact, my lord, the worst is — the sen- 
sation of numbness at the pit of the stomach, which your 
lordship mentioned just now." 

" Pho ! — gone — gone — gone ! A mere nervous sen- 
sation, I apprehend. I am freer from pain just now than I 
have been all along." His face changed a little. " Doc- 
tor — rather faint with talking — can I have a cordial ? 
Pierre, get me some brandy !" he added, in a feeble 
voice. The valet looked at me — I nodded acquies- 
cence, and he instantly brought the Earl a wine-glass- 
ful. 

" Another — another — another" — gasped the Earl, his 
face suddenly bedewed with a cold perspiration. A 
strange expression flitted for an instant over the fea- 
tures ; his eyelids drooped ; there was a little twitching 
about the mouth 

" Pierre ! Pierre ! Pierre ! call the Countess !" said I, 
hurriedly, loosening the Earl's shirt-neck, for I saw he 
was dying. Before the valet returned, however, while 
the muffled tramp of footsteps was heard on the stairs, 
approaching nearer — nearer — nearer — it was all over ! 

The haughty Earl of had gone where rank and 

riches availed him nothing — to be alone with God ! 
***** 

On arriving home that evening, my mind saddened 
with the scene I had left, I found my wife — Emily — 
sitting by the drawing-room fire, alone, and in tears. On 
inquiring the reason of it, she told me that a char-wo- 
man who had been that day engaged at our house, had 
been telling Jane — my wife's maid — who, of course, 
communicated it to her mistress, one of the most heart- 
rending tales of distress that she had ever listened to — 



200 RICH AND POOR. 

that poverty and disease united could inflict on huma- 
nity. My sweet wife's voice, ever eloquent in the cause 
of benevolence, did not require much exertion to per- 
suade me to resume my walking trim, and go that very 
evening to the scene of wretchedness she described. 
The char-woman had gone half-an-hour ago, but left the 
name and address of the family she spoke of, and, after 
learning them, I set off. The cold was so fearfully in- 
tense, that I was obliged to return and get a " com- 
fortable" * for my neck ; and Emily took the opportu- 
nity to empty all the loose silver in her purse into my 
hand, saying, " You know what to do with it, love !" 
Blessing her benevolent heart, I once more set out on 
my errand of mercy. With some difficulty I found out 
the neighbourhood, threading my doubtful way through 
a labyrinth of obscure back-streets, lanes, and alleys, till 
I came to " Peter's Place," where the objects of my vi- 
sit resided. I began to be apprehensive for the safety 
of my person and property, when I discovered the sort 
of neighbourhood I had got into. 

" Do you know where some people of the name of 
O'Hurdle live ?" I inquired of the watchman, who was 
passing bawling the hour, f 

" Yis, I knows two of that 'ere name hereabouts — 
which Hurdle is it, sir ?" inquired the gruff guardian of 
the night. 

" I really don't exactly know — the people I want are 
very, very poor." 

" Cette seconde cravate d'hiver se nomine, en Angleterre, un com- 
fortable. — French Translator, 

•(■ Criant, ou plutot hurlant : Minuit et demi — il faitfroid — nuit 
obscure, &c Ibid. 



RICH AND POOR. 201 

" Oh ! oh ! oh ! I'm thinking they're all much of a 
muchness for the matter of that, about here," — he re- 
plied, setting down his lantern, and slapping his hands 
against his sides to keep himself warm. 

" But the people I want are very ill — I'm a Doctor." 

" Oh, oh ! you must be meaning 'em 'oose son was 
transported yesterday ! His name was Tim O'Hurdle, 
sir — though some called him Jimmy — and I was the 
man that catch'd him, sir — I did ! It was for a robbery 
in this here" 

" Ay, ay — I dare say they are the people I want. 
Where is their house ?" I inquired, hastily, somewhat 
disturbed at the latter portion of his intelligence — a new 
and forbidding feature of the case. 

" I'll shew 'ee the way, sir," said the watchman, walk- 
ing before me, and holding his lantern close to the ground 
to light my path. He led me to the last house of the 
Place, and through a miserable dilapidated door-way ; 
then up two pair of narrow, dirty, broken stairs, till we 
found ourselves at the top of the house. He knocked 
at the door with the end of his stick, and called out, 
" Holloa, missus ! Hey ! Within there ! You're wanted 
here !" adding suddenly, in a lower tone, touching his 
hat, " It's a bitter night, sir — a trifle, sir, to keep one's 
self warm — drink your health, sir." I gave him a trifle, 
motioned him away, and took his place at the door. 

" Thank your honour ! mind your watch and pockets, 
sir, — that's all," he muttered, and left me. I felt very 
nervous as the sound of his retreating footsteps died away 
down stairs. I had half a mind to follow him. 

" Whose there?" inquired a female voice through the 
door, opened only an inch or two. 



202 RICH AND POOR. 

" It's I — a doctor. Is your name O'Hurdle ? Is any 
one ill here ? I'm come to see you. Betsy Jones, a 
char-woman, told me of you." 

" You're right, sir," replied the same voice, sorrow- 
fully. " Walk in, sir;" and the door was opened enough 
for me to enter. 

Now, reader, who, while glancing over these sketches, 
are perhaps reposing in the lap of luxury, believe me when 
I tell you, that the scene which I shall attempt to set 
before you, as I encountered it, I feel to beggar all my 
powers of description ; and that what you may conceive 
to be exaggerations, are infinitely short of the frightful 
realities of that evening. Had I not seen and known for 
myself, I should scarcely have believed that such misery 
existed. 

" Wait a moment, sir, an' I'll fetch you a light," said 
the woman, in a strong Irish accent ; and I stood still 
outside the door till she returned with a rushlight, stuck 
in a blue bottle. I had time for no more than one glimpse 
at the haggard features and filthy ragged appearance of 
the bearer, with an infant at the breast, before a gust of 
wind, blowing through an unstopped broken pane in the 
window, suddenly extinguished the candle, and we were 
left in a sort of darkness visible, the only object I could 
see being the faint glow of expiring embers on the hearth. 
" Would your honour be after standing still a while, or 
you'll be thredding on the chilther ?" said the woman ; 
and, bending down, she endeavoured to re-light the can- 
dle by the embers. The poor creature tried in vain, how- 
ever ; for it seemed there was but an inch or two of can- 
dle left, and the heat of the embers melted it away, and 
the wick fell out. 



RICH AND POOR. 203 

" Oh, murther — there ! What will we do ?" exclaimed 
the woman, " that's the last bit of candle we've in the 
house, an' it's not a farthing I have to buy another !" 

" Come — send and buy another," said I, giving her a 
shilling, though I was obliged to feel for her hand. 

" Oh, thank your honour !" said she, " an' we'll soon 
be seeing one another. Here, Sal ! Sal ! Sally ! — Here, 
ye cratur !" 

" Well, and what d'ye want with me ?" asked a sullen 
voice from another part of the room, while there was a 
rustling of straw. 

" Fait, an' ye must get up wid ye, and go to buy a 
candle. Here's a shilling" 

" Heigh — and isn't it a loaf o' bread ye should rather 
be after buying, mother ?" growled the same voice. 

" Perhaps the Doctor won't mind," stammered the 
mother ; " he won't mind our getting a loaf too." 

" Oh, no, no ! For God's sake, go directly, and get 
what you like !" said I, touched by the woman's tone and 
manner. 

" Ho, Sal ! Get up — ye may buy some bread too" 

" Bread! bread! bread! — Where's the shilling?" said 
the same voice, in quick and eager tones; and the ember- 
light enabled me barely to distinguish the dim outline 
of a figure rising from the straw on which it had been 
stretched, and which nearly overturned me by stumbling 
against me, on its way towards where the mother stood. 
It was a grown-up girl, who, after receiving the shilling, 
promised to bring the candle lighted, lest her own fire 
should not be sufficient, and withdrew, slamming the door 
violently after her, and rattling down stairs with a ra- 
pidity which showed the interest she felt in her errand. 



204 RICH AND POOR. 

" I'm sorry it's not a seat we have that's fit for you, 
sir," said the woman, approaching towards where I was 
standing ; " but if I may make so bold as to take your 
honour's hand, I'll guide you to the only one we have- 
barring the floor — a box by the fire, and there ye'll sit 
perhaps till she comes with a light." 

" Anywhere — anywhere, my good woman," said I ; 
" but I hope your daughter will return soon, for I have 
not long to be here," and giving her my gloved hand, 
she led me to a deal box, on which I sat down, and she 
on the floor beside me. I was beginning to ask her some 
questions, when the moaning of a little child interrupted 
me. 

"Hush! hush! — ye little divel — hush! — ye'll be 
waking your poor daddy ! — hush ! — go to sleep wid ye!" 
said the woman, in an earnest under tone. 

" Och — och — mammy !< — mammy ! an' isn't it so 
cowld f — I can't sleep, mammy," replied the tremulous 
voice of a very young child ; and, directing my eyes to 
the quarter from which the sound came, I fancied I saw 
a poor shivering half-naked creature, cowering under the 
window. 

" Hish ! — lie still wid ye, ye unfortunat' little divel 
— an' ye'll presently get something to eat. — We ha'n't 
none of us tasted a morsel sin' the morning, Doctor !" 
The child she spoke to ceased its moanings instantly ; 
but I heard the sound of its little teeth chattering, and 
of its hands rubbing and striking together. Well it might, 
poor wretch — for I protest the room was nearly as cold 
as the open air ; for, besides the want of fire, the bleak 
wind blew in chilling gusts through the broken panes of 
the window. 



RICH AND POOR. 205 

" Why, how many of you are there in this place, my 
good woman ?" said I. 

" Och, murther ! murther ! nmrther ! an' isn't there 
— barring Sal, that's gone for the candle, and Bobby, 
that's out begging, and Tim, that the ould divels at New- 
gate have sent away to Bottomless* yesterday," she con- 
tinued, bursting into tears ; — " Och, an' won't that same 
be the death o' me, and the poor father o' the boy — an' 
it wasn't sich a sintence he deserved — but hush! hush !" 
she continued, lowering her tones, " an' it's waking the 

father o' him, I'll be, that doesn't" 

" I understand your husband is ill ?" said I. 
" Fait, sir, as ill as the 'smatticks f (asthmatics) can 
make him — the Lord pity him ! But he's had a blessed 
hour's sleep, the poor fellow ! though the little brat he 
has in his arms has been making a noise — a little divel 
that it is — -it's the youngest barring this one I'm suck- 
ling — an' it's not a fortnight it is sin' it first looked on its 
mother!" she continued, sobbing, and kissing her baby's 
• hand. " Och, och ! that the little cratur had niver been 
born !" 

I heard footsteps slowly approaching the room ; and 
presently a few rays of light flickered through the chinks 
and fissures of the door, which was in a moment or two 
pushed open, and Sal made her appearance, shading the 
lighted candle in her hand, and holding a quartern loaf 
under her arm. She had brought but a wretched rush- 
light, which she hastily stuck into the neck of the bottle, 
and placed it on a shelf over the fireplace ; and then — 
what a scene was visible! 

The room was a garret, and the sloping ceiling — if 
* Botany Bay. f Aitnesiqui Fr. Tr. 



206 RICH AND POOR. 

such it might be called — made it next to impossible to 
move anywhere in an upright position. The mockery 
of a window had not one entire pane of glass in it ; but 
some of the holes were stopped with straw, rags, and 
brown paper, while one or two were not stopped at all! 
There was not an article of furniture in the place — no, 
not a bed, chair, or table of any kind ; the last remains 
of it had been seized for arrears of rent — eighteenpence 
a-week — by the horrid harpy, their landlady, who lived 
on the ground-floor ! The floor was littered with dirty 
straw, such as swine might scorn — but which formed 
the only couch of this devoted family! The rushlight 
eclipsed the dying glow of the few embers, so that there 
was not even the appearance of a fire ! And this in a 
garret facing the north — on one of the bitterest and 
bleakest nights I ever knew ! My heart sank within 
me at witnessing such frightful misery and destitution, 
and contrasting it, for an instant, with the aristocratical 
splendour, the exquisite luxuries, of my last patient ! La- 
zarus and Dives ! 

The woman with whom I had been conversing, was a 
mere bundle of filthy rags — a squalid, shivering, starved 
creature, holding to her breast a half-naked infant, — her 
matted hair hanging long and loosely down her back, 
and over her shoulders ; her daughter Sal was in like 
plight — a sullen, ill-favoured slut of about eighteen, who 
seemed ashamed of being seen, and hung her head like a 
guilty one. She had resumed her former station on some 
straw — her bed ! — in the extreme corner of the room, 
where she was squatting, with a little creature cower- 
ing close beside her, both munching ravenously the 
bread which had been purchased. The miserable father 



RICH AND POOR. 207 

of the family was seated on the floor, with his back prop- 
ped against the opposite side of the fireplace to that which 
I occupied, and held a child clasped loosely in his arms, 
though he had plainly fallen asleep. Oh, what a wretch- 
ed object ! a foul, shapeless, brown paper-cap on his head, 
and a ragged fustian jacket on his back, which a beggar 
might have spurned with loathing ! 

The sum of what the woman communicated to me 
was, that her husband, a bricklayer by trade, had been 
long unable to work, on account of his asthma ; and that 
their only means of subsistence were a paltry pittance 
from the parish, her own scanty earnings as a washer- 
woman, which had been interrupted by her recent con- 
finement, and charities collected by Sal, and Bobby, who 
was then out begging. Their oldest son, Tim, a lad of 
sixteen, had been transported for seven years, the day 
before, for a robbery, of which his mother vehemently 
declared him innocent ; and this last circumstance had, 
more than all the rest, completely broken the hearts of 
both his father and mother, who had absolutely starved 
themselves and their children, in order to hoard up 
enough to fee an Old Bailey counsel to plead for their 
son ! The husband had been for some time, I found, 
an out-patient of one of the infirmaries ; " and this poor 
little darlint," said she, sobbing bitterly, and hugging 
her infant closer to her, " has got the measles, I'm fear- 
in' ; and little Bobby, too, is catching them. — Och, mur- 
ther, murther ! Oh, Christ, pity us, poor sinners that 
we are ! — Oh ! what will we do ? — what will we do ?" — 
and she almost choked herself with stifling her sobs, for 
fear of waking her husband. 

" And what is the matter with the child that your hue- 



208 RICH AND POOR. 

band is holding in his arms?" I inquired, pointing to 
it, as it sat in its father's arms, munching a little crust 
of bread, and ever and anon patting its father's face, ex- 
claiming, " Da-a-a ! — Ab-bab-ba ! — Ab-bab-ba !' ' 

" Och ! what ails the cratur ? Nothing, but that it's 
half-starved and naked — an' isn't that enough — an' isn't 
it kilt I wish we all were — every mother's son of us !" 
groaned the miserable woman, sobbing as if her heart 
would break. At that moment a lamentable noise was 
heard on the stairs, as of a lad crying, accompanied by 
the pattering of naked feet. " Och ! murther !" exclaim- 
ed the woman, with an agitated air " What's ailing 

with Bobby ? Is it crying he is ?" and starting to the 
door, she threw it open time enough to admit a ragged 
shivering urchin, about ten years old, without shoes or 
stockings, and having no cap, and rags pinned about 
him, which he was obliged to hold up with his right 
hand, while the other covered his left cheek. The little 
wretch, after a moment's pause, occasioned by seeing a 
strange gentleman in the room, proceeded to put three 
or four coppers into his mother's lap, telling her, with 
painful gestures, that a gentleman whom he had followed 
a few steps in the street, importuning for charity, had 
turned round unexpectedly, and struck him a severe 
blow with a cane, over his face and shoulders. 

" Let me look at your face, my poor little fellow," 
said I, drawing him to me ; and, on removing his hand, 
I saw a long weal all down the left cheek. I wish I 
could forget the look of tearless agony with which his 
mother put her arms round his neck, and drawing him 
to her breast, exclaimed faintly, — " Bobby ! — my Bob- 
by !" After a few moments she released the boy, point- 



RICH AND POOR. 209 

ing to the spot where his sisters sat, still munching their 
bread. The instant he saw what they were doing, he 
sprang towards them, and plucked a large fragment from 
the loaf, fastening on it like a young wolf! 

" Why, they'll finish the loaf before you've tasted it, 
my good woman," said I. 

" Och, the poor things ! — Let them — let them !" she 
replied, wiping away a tear. " I can do without it longer 
than they — the craturs !" 

" Well, my poor woman," said I, " I have not much 
time to spare, as it is growing late. I came here to see 
what I could do for you as a doctor. How many of you 
are ill ?" 

" Fait, an' isn't it ailing we all of us are ! Ah, your 
honour ! — A 'firmary, without physic or victuals !" 

" Well, we must see what can be done for you. What 
is the matter with your husband there ?" said I, turning 
towards him. He was still asleep, in spite of the tick- 
ling and stroking of his child's hands, who, at the mo- 
ment I looked, was trying to push the corner of its crust 
into its father's mouth, chuckling and crowing the while, 
as is the wont of children who find a passive subject for 
their drolleries. 

" Och ! och ! the little villain ! — the thing !" said she, 
impatiently, seeing the child's employment, " Isn't it 
waking him it '11 be ? — st — st !" 

" Let me see him nearer," said I : " I must wake him, 
and ask him a few questions." 

I moved from my seat towards him. His head hung 
down drowsily. His wife took down the candle from 
the shelf, and held it a little above her husband's head, 

VOL. II. o 



210 . RICH AND POOR. 

while I came in front of him, and stooped on one knee 
to interrogate him. 

" Phelim ! — love ! — honey ! — darlint ! — Wake wid 
ye ! And isn't it the doctor that comes to see ye ?" said 
she, nudging him with her knee. He did not stir, how- 
ever. The child, regardless of us, was still playing with 
his passive features. A glimpse of the awful truth flash- 
ed across my mind. 

" Let me have the candle a moment, my good wo- 
man," said I, rather seriously. 

The man was dead ! 

He must have expired nearly an hour before, for his 
face and hands were quite cold ; but the position in 
which he sat, together with the scantiness of the light, 
concealed the event. It was fearful to see the ghastly 
pallor of the features, the fixed pupils, the glassy glare 
downwards, the fallen jaw ! — Was it not a subject for a 
painter ? — the living child in the arms of its dead fa- 
ther, unconsciously sporting with a corpse ! 

To attempt a description of what ensued, would be 
idle, and even ridiculous. It is hardly possible even to 
imagine it ! In one word, the neighbours who lived on 
the floor beneath were called in, and did their utmost 
to console the wretched widow and quiet the children. 
They laid out the corpse decently ; and I left them all 
the silver I had about me, to enable them to purchase a 
few of the more pressing necessaries. I succeeded af- 
terwards in gaining two of the children admittance into 
a charity school ; and, through my wife's interference, 
the poor widow received the efficient assistance of an 
unobtrusive, but most incomparable institution, " The 



RICH AND POOR. 21 1 

Strangers' Friend Society." I was more than once pre- 
sent when those angels of mercy— those " true Samari- 
tans"— the " Visitors" of the Society, as they are call- 
ed—were engaged on their noble errand, and wished 
that their numbers were countless, and their means in- 
exhaustible ! 



( 212 ) 



CHAPTER VI. 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 



It is a common saying, that sorrows never come alone 
— that " it never rains, but it pours * ;" and it has been 
verified by experience, even from the days of that prince 
of the wretched — the man " whose name was Job." 
Now-a-days, directly a sudden accumulation of ills be- 
falls a man, he utters some rash exclamation, like the 
one in question, and too often submits to the inflictions 
of Providence with sullen indifference — like a brute to 
a blow — or resorts, possibly, to suicide. Your poor, 
stupid, unobserving man, in such a case, cannot conceive 
how it comes to pass that all the evils under the sun are 
showered down upon his head — at once ! There is no 
attempt to account for it on reasonable grounds — no re- 
ference to probable, nay, obvious causes — his own mis- 
conduct, possibly, or imprudence. In a word, he fan- 
cies that the only thing they resemble is Epicurus's for- 
tuitous concourse of atoms. It is undoubtedly true that 

* And now behold, O Gertrude, Gertrude — 

When sorrows come, they come not single spies, 

But in battalions. Sh akspeare. 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 213 

people are occasionally assailed by misfortunes so nu- 
merous, sudden, and simultaneous, as is really unaccount- 
able. In the majority, however, of what are reputed 
such cases, a ready solution may be found, by any one 
of observation. Take a simple illustration : A passen- 
ger suddenly falls down in a crowded thoroughfare ; and 
when down, and unable to rise, the one following stum- 
bles over him — the next over him — and so on — all un- 
able to resist the on-pressing crowd behind ; and so the 
first fallen lies nearly crushed and smothered. Now, is 
not this frequently the case Avith a man amid the cares 
and troubles of life ? One solitary disaster — one unex- 
pected calamity — befalls him ; the sudden shock stuns 
him out of his self-possession ; he is dispirited, confound- 
ed, paralysed — and down he falls, in the very throng of 
all the pressing cares and troubles of life, one implicat- 
ing and dragging after it another — till all is uproar and 
consternation. Then it is, that we hear passionate la- 
mentations, and cries of sorrows " never coming alone" 
— of all this " being against him ;" and he either stu- 
pidly lies still, till he is crushed and trampled on, or, it 
may be, succeeds in scrambling to the first temporary 
resting-place he can espy, where he resigns himself to 
stupified inaction, staring vacantly at the throng of mis- 
haps following in the wake of that one which bore him 
down. Whereas the first thought of one in such a si- 
tuation should surely be, " Let me be ' up and doing,' 
and I may yet recover myself." — " Directly a man de- 
termines to think" says an eminent writer, " he is well- 
nigh sure of bettering his condition." 

It is to the operation of such causes as these, that is 
to be traced, in a great majority of cases, the necessity 



214 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

for medical interference. Within the sphere of my own 
practice, I have witnessed, in such circumstances, the 
display of heroism and fortitude ennobling to human na- 
ture ; and I have also seen instances of the most con- 
temptible pusillanimity. I have marked a brave spirit 
succeed in buffeting its way out of its adversities ; and 
I have seen as brave a one overcome by them, and 
falling vanquished, even with the sword of resolution 
gleaming in its grasp ; for there are combinations of evil, 
against which no human energies can make a stand. Of 
this, I think the ensuing melancholy narrative will af- 
ford an illustration. What its effect on the mind of the 
reader may be, I cannot presume to speculate. Mine it 
has oppressed to recall the painful scenes with which it 
abounds, and convinced of the peculiar perils incident to 
rapidly acquired fortune, which too often lifts its pos- 
sessor into an element for which he is totally unfitted, 
and from which he falls exhausted, lower far than the 
sphere he had left ! 

Mr Dudleigh's career afiorded a striking illustration 
of the splendid but fluctuating fortunes of a great Eng- 
lish merchant — of the magnificent results insured by 
persevering industry, economy, prudence, and enter- 
prise. Early in life he was cast upon the world, to do 
as he would, or rather could, with himself ; for his guar- 
dian proved a swindler, and robbed his deceased friend's 
child of every penny that was left him. On hearing of 
the disastrous event, young Dudleigh instantly ran 
away from school, in his sixteenth year, and entered 
himself on board a vessel trading to the West Indies, 
as cabin-boy. As soon as his relatives, few in num- 
ber, distant in degree, and colder in affection, heard of 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 215 

this step, they told him, after a little languid expostula- 
tion, that as he had made his bed, so he must lie upon 
it ; and never came near him again, till he had become 
ten times richer than all of them put together. 

The first three or four years of young Dudleigh's no- 
vitiate at sea, were years of fearful, but not unusual hard- 
ship. I have heard him state that he was frequently 
flogged by the Captain and mate, till the blood ran 
down his back like water ; and kicked and cuffed about 
by the common sailors with infamous impunity. One 
cause of all this was obvious ; his evident superiority 
over every one on board in learning and acquirements. 
To such an extent did his tormentors carry their tyran- 
ny, that poor Dudleigh's life became intolerable ; and 
one evening, on leaving the vessel after its arrival in 
port from the West Indies, he ran to a public-house in 
Wapping, called for pen and ink, and wrote a letter to 
the chief owner of the vessel, acquainting him of the 
cruel usage he had suffered, and imploring his interfe- 
rence ; adding, that if that application failed, he was de- 
termined to drown himself when they next went to sea. 
This letter, which was signed " Henry Dudleigh, cabin- 
boy" astonished and interested the person to whom it 
was addressed ; for it was accurately, and even eloquent- 
ly worded. Young Dudleigh was sent for, and after a 
thorough examination into the nature of his pretensions, 
engaged as a clerk in the counting-house of the ship- 
owners, at a small salary. He conducted himself with 
so much ability and integrity, and displayed such a zeal- 
ous interest in his employers' concerns, that in a few 
years' time he was raised to the head of their large esta- 
blishment, and received a salary of L.500 a-year, as their 



-16 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

senior and confidential clerk. The experience he gain- 
ed in this situation, enabled him, on the unexpected 
bankruptcy of his employers, to dispose most success- 
fully of the greater proportion of what he had saved in 
their service. He purchased shares in two vessels, which 
made fortunate voyages ; and the result determined him 
henceforth to conduct business on his own account, not- 
withstanding the offer of a most lucrative situation simi- 
lar to his last. In a word, he went on conducting his 
speculations with as much prudence, as he undertook 
them with energy and enterprise. 

The period I am alluding to may be considered as the 
golden age of the shipping interest ; and it will occasion 
surprise to no one acquainted with the commercial his- 
tory of those days, to hear that in little more than five 
years' time, Mr Dudleigh could " write himself" worth 
L.20,000. He practised a parsimony of the most ex- 
cruciating kind. Though every one on 'Change was fa- 
miliar with his name, and cited him as one of the most 
" rising young men there," he never associated with any 
of them but on occasions of strict business. He was 
content with the humblest fare ; and trudged cheerfully 
to and from the city to his quiet quarters near Hack- 
ney, as if he had been but a common clerk luxuriating 
on an income of L.50 per annum. Matters went on thus 
prospering with him, till his thirty-second year, when he 
married the wealthy widow of a shipbuilder. The in- 
fluence which she had in his future fortunes, warrants 
me in pausing to describe her. She * was about twen- 
ty-seven or twenty -eight years old ; of passable person, 

* " Mistress Buxom (!) flottait entre trente et quarante ans," &c. 
— French Translator. 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 217 

as far as figure went, for her face was rather bloated and 
vulgar ; somewhat of a dowdy in dress ; insufferably vain, 
and fond of extravagant display; a termagant ; with little 
or no intellect. In fact, she was in disposition the perfect 
antipodes of her husband. Mr Dudleigh was a humble 
unobtrusive, kind-hearted man, always intent on business, 
beyond which he did not pretend to know or care for 
much. How could such a man, it will be asked, marry 
such a woman ? — Was he the first who has been dazzled 
and blinded by the blaze of a large fortune ? Such was 
his case. Besides, a young widow is somewhat careful 
of undue exposures, which might fright away promising 
suitors. So they made a match of it ; and he resusci- 
tated the expiring business and connexion of his prede- 
cessor, and conducted it with a skill and energy, which 
in a short time opened upon him the floodgates of for- 
tune. Affluence poured in from all cpiarters ; and he was 
every where called by his panting, but distanced com- 
petitors in the city, the "fortunate Mr Dudleigh." 

One memorable day, four of his vessels, richly freight- 
ed, came, almost together, into port ; and on the same 
day, he made one of the most fortunate speculations in 
the funds which had been heard of for years ; so that he 
was able to say to his assembled family, as he drank their 
healths after dinner, that he would not take a quarter 
of a million for what he was worth ! And there, surely, 
he might have paused, nay, made his final stand, as the 
possessor of such a princely fortune, acquired with un- 
sullied honour to himself, and, latterly, spent in war- 
rantable splendour and hospitality. But no: as is and ever 
will be the case, the more he had the more he would 
have. Not to mention the incessant baiting of his am- 



218 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

bitious wife, the dazzling capabilities of indefinite in- 
crease to his wealth proved irresistible. What might 
not be done by a man of Mr Dudleigh's celebrity, with 
a floating capital of some hundred and fifty thousand 
pounds, and as much credit as he chose to accept of? 
The regular course of his shipping business brought him 
in constantly magnificent returns, and he began to sigh 
after other collateral sources of money -making ; for why 
should nearly one-half of his vast means lie unproduc- 
tive ? He had not long to look about, after it once be- 
came known that he was ready to employ his floating 
capital in profitable speculations. The brokers, for in- 
stance, came about him, and he leagued with them. By 
and by the world heard of a monopoly of nutmegs. There 
was not a score to be had anywhere in London, but at 
a most exorbitant price — for the fact was, that Mr 
Dudleigh had laid his hands on them all, and by so do- 
ing, cleared a very large sum. Presently he would play 
similar pranks with otto of roses ; and as soon as he had 
quadrupled the cost of that fashionable article, he would 
let loose his stores on the gaping market ; by which he 
gained as large a profit as he had made with the nutmegs. 
Commercial people will easily see how he did this. The 
brokers, who wished to effect the monopoly, would ap- 
ply to him for the use of his capital, and give hirn an 
ample indemnity against whatever loss might be the fate 
of the speculation ; and, on its proving successful, reward- 
ed him with a very large proportion of the profits. This 
is the scheme by which many splendid fortunes have 
been raised, with a rapidity which has astonished their 
gainers as much as any one else ! Then, again, he ne- 
gotiated bills on a large scale, and at tremendous dis- 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 219 

counts ; and, in a word, by these, and similar means, 
amassed, in a few years, the enormous sum of half a 
million of money ! 

It is easy to guess at the concomitants of such a for- 
tune as this. At the instigation of his wife — for he him- 
self retained all his old unobtrusive and personally eco- 
nomical habits — he supported two splendid establish- 
ments — the one at the " West End" of the town, and 
the other near Richmond. His wife — for Mr Dudleigh 
himself seemed more like the hired steward of his for- 
tune, than its possessor —was soon surrounded by swarms 
of those titled blood-suckers, that batten on bloated opu- 
lence, which has been floated into the sea of fashion. 
Mrs Dudleigh's dinners, suppers, routs, soirees, fetes- 
champetres, flashed astonishment on the town, through 
the columns of the obsequious prints. Miss Dudleigh, 
an elegant and really amiable girl, about seventeen, was 
beginning to get talked of as a fashionable beauty, and, 
report said, had refused her coronets by dozens ! — while 
" young Harry Dudleigh" far out-topped the astonished 
Oxonians, by spending half as much again as his noble 
allowance. Poor Mr Dudleigh frequently looked on all 
this with fear and astonishment, and, when in the city, 
would shrug his shoulders, and speak of the " dreadful 
doings at the West !" I say, when in the city — for, as 
soon as he travelled westwards, when he entered the 
sphere of his wife's influence, his energies were benumb- 
ed and paralysed. He had too long quietly succumbed 
to her authority, to call it in question now, and there- 
fore he submitted to the splendid appearance he was 
compelled to support. He often said, however, that " he 
could not understand what Mrs Dudleigh was at ;" but 



220 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

beyond such a hint he never presumed. He was seldom 
or never to be seen amid the throng and crush of com- 
pany that crowded his house evening after evening. 
The first arrival of his wife's guests, was his usual sig- 
nal for seizing his hat and stick, dropping quietly from 
home, and betaking himself either to some sedate city 
friend, or to his counting-house, where he now took a 
kind of morbid pleasure in ascertaining that his gains 
were safe, and planning greater, to make up, if possible, 
he would say, " for Mrs Dudleigh's awful extravagance." 
He did this so constantly, that Mrs Dudleigh began at 
last to expect and calculate on his absence, as a matter 
of course, whenever she gave a party ; and her good- 
natured, accommodating husband too easily acquiesced, 
on the ground, as his wife took care to give out, of his 
health's not bearing late hours and company. Though 
an economical, and even parsimonious man in his ha- 
bits, Mr Dudleigh had as warm and kind a heart as ever 
glowed in the breast of man. I have heard many ac- 
counts of his systematic benevolence, which he chiefly 
carried into effect at the periods of temporary relega- 
tion to the city, above spoken of. Every Saturday even- 
ing, for instance, he had a sort of levee, numerously at- 
tended by merchants' clerks and commencing tradesmen, 
all of whom he assisted most liberally with both " cash 
and counsel," as he good-humouredly called it. Many 
a one of them owes his establishment in life to Mr Dud- 
leigh, who never lost sight of any deserving object he 
had once served. 

A far different creature Mrs Dudleigh ! The longer 
she lived, the more she had her way — the more frivolous 
and heartless did she become— the more despotic was 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 221 

the sway she exercised over her husband. Whenever 
he presumed to " lecture her," as she called it, she would 
Htop his mouth, with referring to the fortune she had 
brought him, and ask him triumphantly, " what he could 
have done without her cash and connexions !" Such 
being the fact, it was past all controversy that she ought 
to be allowed " to have her fling, now they could so 
easily afford it !" The sums she spent on her own and 
her daughter's dresses were absolutely incredible, and 
almost petrified her poor husband when the bills were 
brought to him. Both in the articles of dress and party- 
giving, Mrs Dudleigh was actuated by a spirit of fran- 
tic rivalry with her competitors ; and what she wanted 
in elegance and refinement, she sought to compensate 
for in extravagance and ostentation. It was to no pur- 
pose that her trembling husband, with tears in his eyes, 
suggested to her recollection the old saying, " that fools 
make feasts, and wise men eat them ;" and that, if she 
gave magnificent dinners and suppers, of course great 
people would come and eat them for her ; but would 
they thank her ? Her constant answer was, that they 
" ought to support their station in society" — that " the 
world would not believe them rich, unless they showed 
it that they were," &c. &c. Then, again, she had a strong 
plea for her enormous expenditure in the " bringing out 
of Miss Dudleigh," in the arrayment of whom, panting 
milliners " toiled in vain." In order to bring about this 
latter object, she induced, but with great difficulty, Mr 
Dudleigh to give his bankers orders to accredit her se- 
parate cheques ; and so prudently did she avail herself 
of this privilege for months, that she completely threw 
Mr Dudleigh off his guard, and he allowed a very large 



222 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

balance to lie in his bankers' hands, subject to the un- 
restricted drafts of his wife. Did the reader never hap- 
pen to see in society that horrid harpy, an old dowager, 
whose niggard jointure drives her to cards ? ' Evening 
after evening did several of these old creatures squat, 
toad-like, round Mrs Dudleigh's card table, and succeed- 
ed at last in inspiring her with such a frenzy for " play," 
as the most ample fortune must melt away under, more 
rapidly than snow beneath sunbeams. The infatuated 
woman became notoriously the first to seek, and last to 
leave, the fatal card table ; and the reputed readiness 
with which she " bled," at last brought her the honour 
of an old Countess, who condescended to win from her, 
at two sittings, very nearly £ 5000. It is not now dif- 
ficult to account for the anxiety Mrs Dudleigh manifest- 
ed to banish her husband from her parties. She had 
many ways of satisfactorily accounting for her frequent 
drafts on his bankers. Miss Dudleigh had made a con- 
quest of a young peer, who, as soon as he had accurate- 
ly ascertained the reality of her vast expectations, fell 
deeply in love with her I The young lady herself had 
too much good sense to give him spontaneous credit for 
disinterested affection ; but she was so dunned on the 
subject by her foolish mother — so petted and flattered 
by the noble, but impoverished family, that sought her 
connexion — and the young nobleman, himself a hand- 
some man, so ardent and persevering in his courtship — 
that at last her heart yielded, and she passed in society 
as the " envied object of his affections !" The notion of 
intermingling their blood with nobility, so dazzled the 
vain imagination of Mrs Dudleigh, that it gave her elo- 
quence enough to suceeed, at last, in stirring the phleg- 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 22:$ 

matic temperament of her husband. " Have a nobleman 
for my son-in-law !" thought the merchant, morning, 
noon, and night — at the East and at the West End — 
in town and country ! What would the city people say 
to that ? He had a spice of ambition in his composi- 
tion, beyond what could be contented with the achieval 
of mere city eminence. He was tiring of it — he had 
long been a kind of king on 'Change, and, as it were, 
carried the Stocks in his pockets. He had long thought 
that it was " possible to choke a dog with pudding," 
and he was growing heartily wearied of the turtle * and 
venison eastward of Temple Bar, which he was compel- 
led to eat at the public dinners of the great companies, 
and elsewhere, when his own tastes would have led him, 
in every case, to pitch upon " port, beef-stakes, and the 
papers," as fare fit for a king ! The dazzling topic, there- 
fore, on which his wife held forth with unwearied elo- 
quence, was beginning to produce conviction in his mind ; 
and though he himself eschewed his wife's kind of life, 
and refused to share in it, he did not lend a very un- 
willing ear to her representations of the necessity for an 
even increased rate of expenditure, to enable Miss Dud- 
leigh to eclipse her gay competitors, and appear a wor- 
thy prize in the eyes of her noble suitor. Aware of the 
magnitude of the proposed object, he could not but as- 
sent to Mrs Dudleigh's opinion, that extraordinary means 
must be made use of; and was at last persuaded into 
placing nearly £ 20,000 in his new banker's hands, sub- 
ject, as before, to Mrs Dudleigh's drafts, which she pro- 
mised him should be as seldom and as moderate as she 

• " Dans tous les repas solenncls de la cite de Londreu, une soupe 
(i la tortue est de rigueur !" — French Translator . 



224 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

could possibly contrive to meet necessary expenses with. 
His many and heavy expenses, together with the great 
sacrifice in prospect, when the time of his daughter's 
marriage should arrive, supplied him with new incen- 
tives to enter into commercial speculations. He tried 
several new schemes, threw all the capital he could com- 
mand into new, and even more productive quarters, and 
calculated on making vast accessions of fortune at the 
end of the year. 

About a fortnight after Mr Dudleigh had* informed 
Mrs Dudleigh of the new lodgment he had made at his 
bankers, she gave a very large evening party at her 

house in Square. She had been very successful 

in her guests on the occasion, having engaged the at- 
tendance of my Lords This, and my Ladies That, in- 
numerable. Even the high and haughty Duke of 

had deigned to look in for a few moments, on his way to 
a party at Carlton House, for the purpose of sneering 
at the " splendid cit," and extracting topics of laughter 

for his royal host. The whole of Square, and one 

or two of the adjoining streets, were absolutely choked 
with carriages — the carriages of her guests ! "When 
you entered her magnificent apartments, and had made 
your way through the soft crush and flutter of aristo- 
cracy, you might see the lady of the house throbbing and 
panting with excitement — a perfect blaze of jewellery — 

flanked by her very kind friends, old Lady , and 

the well-known Miss , engaged, as usual, at un- 
limited loo. The good humour with which Mrs Dud- 
leigh lost, was declared to be " quite charming," — " de- 
serving of better fortune ;" and inflamed by the cayenned 
compliments they forced upon her, she was just utter- 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 225 

ing some sneering and insolent allusion to " that odious 
city" while old Lady 'a withered talons were ex- 
tended to clutch her winnings, when there was perceived 
a sudden stir about the chief door — then a general hush 
— and in a moment or two, a gentleman, in dusty and 
disordered dress, with his hat on, rushed through the 
astonished crowd, and made his way towards the card 
table at which Mrs Dudleigh was seated, and stood con- 
fronting her, extending towards her his right hand, in 
which was a thin slip of paper. It was Mr Dudleigh ! 
" There — there, madam !" he gasped in a hoarse voice, 
— " there, woman ! what have you done ? — Ruined — 
ruined me, madam — you've ruined me ! My credit is 
destroyed for ever ! my name is tainted. Here's the 
first dishonoured bill that ever bore Henry Dudleigh's 
name upon it ! — -Yes, madam, it is you who have done 
it," he continued, with vehement tone and gesture, utter- 
ly regardless of the breathless throng around him, and 
continuing to extend towards her the protested bill of 
exchange. 

" My dear ! — my dear — my — my — my dear Mr 
Dudleigh," stammered his wife, without rising from her 
chair, " what is the matter, love ?" 

" Matter, madam? why, by ! — that you've 

ruined me — that's all ! Where's the £ 20,000 I placed 

in Messrs 's hands a few days ago ? — Where — 

where is it, Mrs Dudleigh ?"he continued almost shout- 
ing, and advancing nearer to her, with his fist clenched. 

" Henry ! dear Henry ! — mercy, mercy !" mur- 
mured his wife, faintly. 

" Henry, indeed ! Mercy ? — Silence, madam ! How 
dare you deny me an answer ? How dare you swindle 

VOL. II. P 



2'26 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

me out of my fortune in this way ?" he continued, fierce- 
ly, wiping the perspiration from his forehead: " Here's 

my bill for £4000, made payable at Messrs , my 

new bankers ; and when it was presented this morning, 

madam, by ! the reply was ' no effects !' and my 

bill has been dishonoured ! Wretch ! what have you 
done with my money ? Where is it all gone ? — I'm the 
town's talk about this bill ! There '11 be a run up- 
on me ! — I know there will — ay — this is the way my 
hard-earned wealth is squandered, you vile, you un- 
principled spendthrift !" he continued, turning round and 
pointing to the astounded guests, none of whom had 
uttered a syllable. The music had ceased — the dancers 
left their places — the card tables were deserted — in a 
word, all was blank consternation. The fact was, that 

old Lady , who was that moment seated, trembling 

like an aspen leaf, at Mrs Dudleigh's right hand side, 
had won from her, during the last month, a series of sums 
amounting to little short of £9000, which Mrs Dudleigh 
had paid the day before by a cheque on her banker ; 
and that very morning she had drawn out £4000 odd, 
to pay her coachmaker's, confectioner's, and milliner's 
bills, and supply herself with cash for the evening's spo- 
liation. The remaining £7000 had been drawn out du- 
ring the preceding fortnight to pay her various clamo- 
rous creditors, and keep her in readiness for the gaming 
table. Mr Dudleigh, on hearing of the dishonour of his 
bill — the news of which was brought him by a clerk, for 
he was staying at a friend's house in the country — came 
up instantly to town, paid the bill, and then hurried, 

half beside himself, to his house in Square. It is 

not at all wonderful, that though Mr Dudleigh's name 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 227 

was well known as an eminent and responsible mercan- 
tile man, his bankers, with whom he had but recently 
opened an account, should decline paying his bill, after 
so large a sum as £20,000 had been drawn out of their 
hands by Mrs Dudleigh. It looked suspicious enough, 
truly ! 

" Mrs Dudleigh ! where — where is my £20,000 ?" he 
shouted almost at the top of his voice ; but Mrs Dud- 
leigh heard him not ; for she had fallen fainting into the 

arms of Lady Numbers rushed forward to her 

assistance. The confusion and agitation that ensued it 
would be impossible to describe ; and, in the midst of it, 
Mr Dudleigh strode at a furious pace out of the room, 
and left the house. For the next three or four days he 
behaved like a madman. His apprehensions magnified 
the temporary and very trifling injury his credit had 
sustained, till he fancied himself on the eve of becoming 
bankrupt. And, indeed, where is the merchant of any 
eminence, whom such a circumstance as the dishonour 
of a bill for £4000 (however afterwards accounted for) 
would not exasperate ? For several days Mr Dudleigh 
would not go near Square, and did not once in- 
quire after Mrs Dudleigh. My professional services 
were put into requisition on her behalf, llage, shame, 
and agony, at the thought of the disgraceful exposure 
she had met with, in the eyes of all her assembled guests 
— of those respecting whose opinions she was most ex- 
quisitely sensitive — had nearly driven her distracted. 
She continued so ill for about a week, and exhibited such 
frequent glimpses of delirium, that I was compelled to 
resort to very active treatment to avert a brain fever. 
More than once, I heard her utter the words, or some- 



228 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

thing like them, — " be revenged on him yet !" but whe- 
ther or not she was at the time sensible of the import of 
what she said, I did not know. 

The incident above recorded — which I had from the 
lips of Mr Dudleigh himself, as well as from others — 
made a good deal of noise in what are called " the fa- 
shionable circles," and was obscurely hinted at in one of 
the daily papers. I was much amused at hearing, in the 
various circles I visited, the conflicting and exaggerated 
accounts of it. One old lady told me she " had it on 
the best authority, that Mr Dudleigh actually struck his 
wife, and wrenched her purse out of her hand !" I re- 
commended Mrs Dudleigh to withdraw for a few weeks 
to a watering-place, and she followed my advice ; taking 
with her Miss Dudleigh, whose health and spirits had 
suffered materially through the event which has been 
mentioned. Poor girl ! she was of a very different mould 
from her mother, and suffered acutely, though silently, 
at witnessing the utter contempt in which her mother 
was held by the very people she made such prodigious 
efforts to court and conciliate. Can any situation be 
conceived more painful ? Her few and gentle remon- 
strances, however, met invariably with a harsh and cruel 
reception ; and at last she was compelled to hold her 
peace, and bewail in mortified silence her mother's ob- 
tuseness. 

They continued at about a month ; and, on 

their return to town, found the affair quite " blown 
over;" and soon afterwards, through the mediation of mu- 
tual friends, the angry couple were reconciled to each 
other. For twelve long months Mrs Dudleigh led a 
comparatively quiet and secluded life, abstaining — with 
5 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 229 

but a poor grace, it is true — from company and cards — 
from the latter compulsorily ; for no one chose to sit 
down at play with her, who had witnessed or heard of 
the event which had taken place last season. In short, 
every thing seemed going on well with our merchant 
and his family. It was fixed that his daughter was to 

become Lady as soon as young Lord should 

have returned from the Continent ; and a dazzling 
dowery was spoken of as hers on the day of her mar- 
riage. Pleased with his wife's good behaviour, Mr Dud- 
leigh's confidence and good-nature revived, and he held 
the reins with a rapidly slackening grasp. In proportion 
as he allowed her funds, her scared " friends" flocked 
again around her ; and by and by she was seen flouncing 
about in fashion as heretofore, with small " let or hinder- 
ance" from her husband. The world — the sagacious 
Morld — called Mr Dudleigh a happy man ; and the city 
swelled at the mention of his name and doings. The 
mercantile world laid its highest honours at his feet. 
The Mayoralty — a Bank, an East Indian, Directorship 
— a seat for the city in Parliament — all glittered within 
his grasp — but he would not stretch forth his hand. He 
was content, he would say, to be " plain Henry Dud- 
leigh, whose word was as good as his bond" — a leading 
man on 'Change — and, above all, " who could look every 
one full in the face with whom he had ever had to do." 
"He was indeed a worthy man — a rich and racy speci- 
men of one of those glories of our nation — a true Eng- 
lish merchant. The proudest moments of his life were 
those, when an accompanying friend could estimate his 
consequence, by witnessing the mandarin movements 
that every where met him — the obsequious obeisances 



230 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

of even his closest rivals — as he hurried to and fro about 
the central regions of 'Change, his hands stuck into the 
worn pockets of his plain snuff-coloured coat. The 
merest glance at Mr Dudleigh — his hurried, fidgety, 
anxious gestures — the keen, cautious expression of his 
glittering gray eyes — his mouth screwed up like a shut 
purse — all, all told of the " man of a million." There 
was, in a manner, a " plum" in every tread of his foot, 
in every twinkle of his eye. He could never be said to 
breathe freely — really to live — but in his congenial at- 
mosphere — his native element — the City ! 

Once every year he gave a capital dinner, at a tavern, 
to all his agents, clerks, and people in any way connect- 
ed with him in business ; and none but himself knew the 
quiet ecstasy with which he took his seat at the head of 
them all, joined in their timid jokes, echoed their modest 
laughter, made speeches, and was be-speechified in turn ! 
How he sat while great things were saying of him, on 
the occasion of his health's being drunk ! On one of 
these occasions, his health had been proposed by his 
sleek head-clerk, in a most neat and appropriate speech, 
and drank with uproarious enthusiasm ; and good Mr 
Dudleigh was on his legs, energetically making his an- 
nual avowal, that " that was the proudest moment of his 
life," when one of the waiters came and interrupted him, 
by saying that a gentleman was without, waiting to speak 
to him on most important business. Mr Dudleigh hur- 
riedly whispered, that he would attend to the stranger 
in. a few minutes, and the waiter withdrew ; but return- 
ed in a second or two, and put a card into his hand. Mr 
Dudleigh was electrified at the name it bore — that of the 
great loan-contractor — the city Croesus, whose wealth 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 231 

was reported to be incalculable ! He hastily called on 
some one to supply his place ; and had hardly passed the 

door, before he was hastily shaken by the hands by , 

who told him at once that he had called to propose to 
Mr Dudleigh to take part with him in negotiating a very 

large loan on account of the government ! After a 

flurried pause, Mr Dudleigh, scarcely knowing what he 
was saying, assented. In a day or two, the transaction 
was duly blazoned in the leading papers of the day ; and 
every one in the city spoke of him as one likely to 
double, or even treble, his already ample fortune. Again 
he was praised — again censured — again envied ! It was 
considered advisable that he should repair to the Conti- 
nent, during the course of the negotiation, in order that 
he might personally superintend some important colla- 
teral transactions : and when there, he was most unex- 
pectedly detained nearly two months. Alas! that he ever 
left England ! During his absence, his infatuated wife 
betook herself — " like the dog to his vomit, like the sow 
to her wallowing in the mire" — to her former ruinous 
courses of extravagance and dissipation, but on a fear- 
fully larger scale. Her house was more like an hotel 
than a private dwelling ; and blazed away, night after 
night, with light and company, till the whole neighbour- 
hood complained of the incessant uproar occasioned b} r 
the mere arrival and departure of her guests. To her 
other dreadful besetments, Mrs Dudleigh now added the 
odious and vulgar vice of — intoxication ! She complain- 
ed of the deficiency of her animal spirits ; and said she 
took liquor as a medicine ! She required stimulus, and 
excitement, she said, to sustain her mind under the per- 
petual run of ill luck she had at cards ! It was in vain 



232 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

that her poor daughter remonstrated, and almost cried 
herself into fits, on seeing her mother return home, fre- 
quently in the dull stupor of absolute intoxication ! 
" Mother, mother, my heart is breaking !" said she, one 
evening. 

" So — so is mine," hickuped her parent ; " so get me 
the decanter !" 

Young Harry Dudleigh trode emulously in the foot- 
steps of his mother ; and ran riot to an extent that was 
before unknown to Oxford ! The sons of very few of the 
highest nobility had handsomer allowances than he ; yet 
was he constantly over head and ears in debt. He was 
a backer of the ring ruffians ; a great man at cock and 
dog fights ; a racer ; in short, a blackguard of the first 
Avater. During the recess, he had come up to town, and 
taken up his quarters, not at his father's house, but at 
one of the distant hotels ; where he might pursueliis pro- 
fligate courses without fear of interruption. He had re- 
peatedly bullied his mother out of large sums of money to 
supply his infamous extravagancies; and at length became 
so insolent and exorbitant in his demands, that they quar- 
relled. One evening, about nine o'clock, Mrs and Miss 
Dudleigh happened to be sitting in the drawing-room, 
alone — and the latter was pale with the agitation conse- 
quent on some recent quarrel with her mother ; for the 
poor girl had been passionately reproaching her mother 
for her increasing attachment to liquor, under the in- 
fluence of which she evidently was at that moment. Sud- 
denly a voice was heard in the hall, and on the stairs, 
singing, or rather bawling, snatches of some comic song 
or other ; the drawing-room door was presently pushed 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 233 

open, and young Dudleigh, more than half intoxicated, 
made his appearance in a slovenly evening dress. 

" Madame ma mere !" said he, staggering towards the 
sofa, where his mother and sister were sitting : " I — I 
must be supplied — I must, mother!" he hickuped, 
stretching towards her his right hand, and tapping the 
palm of it significantly with his left fingers. 

" Pho — nonsense ! — off to — to bed, young scape- 
grace !" replied his mother, drowsily ; for the stupor of 
wine lay heavily on her. 

" 'Tis useless, madam — quite, I assure you ! — Money 
— money — money I must and will have !" said her son, 
striving to steady himself against a chair. 

" Why, Harry, dear! — where's the fifty pounds I gave 
you a cheque for only a day or two ago ?" 

" Gone ! gone the way of all money, madam — as you 
know pretty well ! I — I must have £ 300 by to-mor- 
row" 

" Three hundred pounds, Henry!" exclaimed his mo- 
ther, angrily. 

" Yes, ma'am ! Sir Charles won't be put off any longer, 

he says. Has my — my — word — ' good as my bond' 

as the old governor says ! Mother," he continued, in a 
louder tone, flinging his hat violently on the floor, " I 
must and will have money !" 

" Henry, it's disgraceful — infamous — most infa- 
mous !" exclaimed Miss Dudleigh, with a shocked air ; 
and raising her handkerchief to her eyes, she rose from 
the sofa, and walked hurriedly to the opposite end of the 
room, and sat doM'n in tears. Poor girl ! — what a mo- 
ther ! what a brother ! The young man took the place 
she had occupied by her mother's side, and, in a wheed- 



234 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

ling, coaxing way, threw his arm round Mrs Dudleigh, 
hickuping — " Mother — give me a cheque ! — do, please ! 
— 'tis the last time I'll ask you — for a twelvemonth to 
come ! — and I owe £ 500 that must be paid in a day or 
two !" 

" How can I, Harry ? Dear Harry, don't be unrea- 
sonable ! — recollect I'm a kind mother to you," kissing 
him, " and don't distress me, for I owe three or four 
times as much myself, and cannot pay it." 

" Eh ! — eh ! — cannot pay it ! — stuff, ma'am ! Why, is 
the bank run dry," he continued, with an apprehensive 
stare. 

" Yes, love — long ago !" replied his mother, with a 
sigh. 

" Whoo — whoo !" he exclaimed ; and rising, he walk- 
ed, or rather staggered, a few steps to and fro, as if at- 
tempting to recollect his faculties — and think ! 

" Ah, ha, ha ! — eureka, ma'am !" he exclaimed sudden- 
ly, after a pause, snapping his fingers, " I've got it — I 
have ! — the plate, mother — the plate — Hem ! raising 
the wind — you understand me !" 

" Oh, shocking, shocking !" sobbed Miss Dudleigh, 
hurrying towards them, wringing her hands bitterly ; 
" O mother! O Henry, Henry! would you ruin my poor 
father, and break his heart ?" 

" Ah, the plate, mother ! — the plate !" he continued, 
addressing his mother; then turning to his sister, 
" Away, you little puss — puss! — what do you understand 
about business, eh !" and he attempted to kiss her, but 
she thrust him away with indignation and horror in her 
gestures. • 

" Come, mother ! — Will it do ! — A lucky thought ! 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 235 

The plate ! — Mr is a rare hand at this kind of 

thing ! — a thousand or two would set you and me to 
rights in a twinkling ! — Come, what say you ?" 

" Impossible, Harry !" — replied his mother, turning 
pale, — " 'tis quite — 'tis — 'tis — out of the question !" 

" Pho ! no such thing ! — It must be done ! — why can- 
not it, ma'am ?" inquired the young man, earnestly. 

" Why, because — if you must know, sirrah ! — because 
it is already pawned !" — replied his mother, in a loud 
voice, shaking her hand at him with passion. Their at- 
tention was attracted at that moment towards the door, 
which had been standing a-jar — for there was the sound 
of some one suddenly fallen down. After an instant's 
pause, they all three walked to the door, and stood ga- 
zing horror-struck at the prostrate figure of Mr Dud- 



leigh 



He had been standing unperceived in the doorway — 
having entered the house only a moment or two after his 
son — during the whole of the disgraceful scene just de- 
scribed, almost petrified with grief, amazement, and hor- 
ror — till he could bear it no longer, and fell down in an 
apoplectic fit. He had but that evening returned from 
abroad, exhausted with physical fatigue, and dispirited 
in mind — for, while abroad, he had made a most disas- 
trous move in the foreign funds, by which he lost up- 
wards of sixty or seventy thousand pounds ; and his ne- 
gotiation scheme also turned out very unfortunately, and 
left him minus nearly as much more. He had hurried home, 
half dead with vexation and anxiety, to make instant ar- 
rangements for meeting the most pressing of his pecuni- 
ary engagements in England, apprehensive, from the 
gloomy tenor of his agent's letters to him while abroad, 



236 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

that his affairs were falling into confusion. Oh! what a 
heart-breaking scene had he to encounter — instead of the 
comforts and welcome of home ! 

This incident brought me again into contact with this 
devoted family ; for I was summoned by the distracted 
daughter to her father's bedside, which I found sur- 
rounded by his wife and children. The shock of his pre- 
sence had completely sobered both mother and son, who 
hung horror-stricken over him, on each side of the bed, 
endeavouring in vain to recall him to sensibility. I had 
scarcely entered the room, before Mrs Dudleigh was car- 
ried away swooning in the arms of a servant. Mr Dud- 
leigh was in a fit of apoplexy. He lay in a state of pro- 
found stupor, breathing stertorously — more like snort- 
ing. I had him raised into nearly an upright position, 
and immediately bled him largely from the jugular vein. 
While the blood was flowing, my attention was arrested 
by the' appearance of young Dudleigh ; who was kneel- 
ing down by the bedside, his hands clasped convulsive- 
ly together, and his swollen blood-shot eyes fixed on his 
father. " Father ! father ! father !" were the only words 
he uttered, and these fell quivering from his lips uncon- 
sciously. Miss Dudleigh, who had stood leaning against 
the bedpost in stupified silence, and pale as a statue, was 
at length too faint to continue any longer in an upright 
posture, and was led out of the room. 

Here was misery ! Here was remorse '. 

I continued with my patient more than an hour, and 
was gratified at finding that there was every appearance 
of the attack proving a mild and manageable one. I pre- 
scribed suitable remedies, and left, — enjoining young 
Dudleigh not to quit his father for a moment, but to 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 237 

watch every breath he drew. He hardly seemed to hear 
me, and gazed in my face vacantly while I addressed 
him. I shook him gently, and repeated my injunctions, 
but all he could reply was — " Oh — doctor — we have 
killed him !" 

Before leaving the house, I repaired to the chamber 
where Mrs Dudleigh lay, just recovering from strong hys- 
terics. I was filled with astonishment, on reflecting 
upon the whole scene of that evening ; and, in particu- 
lar, on the appearance and remorseful expressions of 
young Dudleigh. What could have happened ? — A day 
or two afterwards, Miss Dudleigh, with shame and re- 
luctance, communicated to me the chief facts above 
stated ! Her own health and spirits were manifestly 
suffering from the distressing scenes she had to endure. 
She told me, with energy, that she could sink into the 
earth, on reflecting that she was the daughter of such a 
mother, the sister of such a brother ! 

[The Diary passes hastily over a fortnight, — saying 
merely that Mr Dudleigh recovered more rapidly than 
could have been expected — and proceeds, — ] 

Monday, June 1 8 — While I was sitting beside poor 
Mr Dudleigh, this afternoon, feeling his pulse, and put- 
ting questions to him, which he was able to answer with 
tolerable distinctness, Miss Dudleigh came and whisper- 
ed that her mother, who, though she had seen her husband 
frequently, had not spoken to him, or been recognised by 
him since his illness — was anxious then to come in, as she 
heard that he was perfectly sensible. I asked him if he 
had any objections to see her ; and he replied with a sigh, 
— " No. Let her come in, and see what she has brought 
me to !" In a few minutes' time she was in the room. I 
observed Mr Dudleigh's eyes directed anxiously to the 



238 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

door before she entered ; and the instant he saw her pal- 
lid features, and the languid exhausted air with which 
she advanced towards the bed, he lifted up his shaking 
hands, and beckoned towards her. His eyes filled with 
tears, to overflowing, and he attempted to speak — but in 
vain. She tottered to his side, and fell down on her 
knees ; while he clasped her hands in his, kissed her af- 
fectionately, and both of them wept like children ; as did 
young Dudleigh and his sister. That was the hour of 
full forgiveness and reconciliation ! It was indeed a 
touching scene. There lay the deeply injured father and 
husband, his gray hair (grown, long during his absence 
on the Continent, and his illness,) combed back from 
his temples ; his pale and fallen features exhibiting deep 
traces of the anguish he had borne. He gave one hand 
to his son and daughter, while the other continued grasp- 
ped by Mrs Dudleigh. 

" Oh, dear, dear husband ! — Can you forgive us, who 
have so nearly broken your heart ?" — she sobbed, kiss- 
ing his forehead. He strove to reply, but burst into 
tears, without being able to utter a word. Fearful that 
the prolonged excitement of such an interview might 
prove injurious, I gave Mrs Dudleigh a hint to withdraw 
— and left the room with her. She had scarcely descend- 
ed the staircase, when she suddenly seized my arm, stared 
me full in the face, and burst into a fit of loud and wild 
laughter. I carried her into the first room I could find, 
and gave her all the assistance in my power. It was 
long, however, before she recovered. She continually 
exclaimed, — " Oh, what a wretch I've been ! What a 
vile wretch I've been ! — arid he so kind and forgiving, 
too !" 

As soon as Mr Dudleigh was sufficiently recovered to 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 239 

leave his bedroom — contrary to my vehemently express- 
ed opinion — he entered at once on the active manage- 
ment of his affairs. It is easy to conceive how business 
of such an extensive and complicated character as his, 
must have suffered from so long an intermission of his 
personal superintendence — especially at such a critical 
conjuncture. Though his head clerk was an able and 
faithful man, he was not at all equal to the overwhelm- 
ing task which devolved upon him ; and when Mr Dud- 
leigh, the first day of his coming down stairs, sent for 
him, in order to learn the general aspect of his affairs, 
he wrung his hands despairingly, to find the lamentable 
confusion into which they had fallen. The first step to 
be {aken, was the discovery of funds wherewith to meet 
some heavy demands which had been for some time cla- 
morously asserted. What, however, was to be done ? 
His unfortunate speculations in the foreign funds had 
made sad havoc of his floating capital, and farther fluc- 
tuations in the English funds during his illness, had add- 
ed to his losses. As far as ready money went, there- 
fore, he was comparatively penniless. All his resources 
were so locked up, as to be promptly available only at 
ruinous sacrifices ; and yet he must procure many thou- 
sands within a few days — or he trembled to contemplate 
the consequences. 

" Call in the money I advanced on mortage of my 

Lord h property," said he. 

" We shall lose a third, sir, of what we advanced, if 
we do," replied the clerk. 

" Can't help it, sir — must have money — and that in- 
stantly — call it in, sir." The clerk, with a sigh, entered 
his orders accordingly. 

" Ah — let me see. Sell all my shares in ." 



240 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

" Allow me to suggest, sir, that if you will but wait 
two months — or even six weeks longer, they will be 
worth twenty times what, you gave for them ; whereas, 
if you part with them at present, it must be at a heavy 
discount." 

" Must have money, sir! must! — write it down too," re- 
plied Mr Dudleigh, sternly. In this manner he " ticketed 
out his property for ruin," as his clerk said— throughout 
the interview. His demeanour and spirit were altogether 
changed ; the first was become stern and imperative, the 
latter rash and inconsiderate to a degree which none 
would credit, who had known his former mode of conduct- 
ing business. All the prudence and energy which had 
secured him such splendid results, seemed now lost, irre- 
coverably lost. Whether or not this change was to be ac- 
counted for by mental imbecillity consequent on his re- 
cent apoplectic seizure — or the disgust he felt at toiling 
in the accumulation of wealth which had been and might 
yet be so profligately squandered, I know not ; but his 
conduct now consisted of alternations between the ex- 
tremes of rashness and timorous indecision. He would 
waver and hesitate about the outlay of hundreds, when 
every one else — even those most proverbially prudent 
and sober, would venture their thousands with an almost 
absolute certainty of tenfold profits ; and again, would 
fling away thousands into the very yawning jaws of vil- 
lany. He would not tolerate remonstrance or expostu- 
lation ; and when any one ventured to hint surprise or 
dissatisfaction at the'conduct he was pursuing, he would 
say tartly, " that he had reasons of his own for what he 
was doing." His brother merchants were for a length of 
time puzzled to account for his conduct. At first they 
gave him credit for playing some deep and desperate 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 241 

game, and trembled at. his hardihood ; but after waiting 
a" while, and perceiving no 

wondrous issue 

Leap down their gaping throats, to recompense 
Long hours of patient hope 

they came to the conclusion, that as he had been latterly 
unfortunate, and was growing old, and indisposed to pro- 
long the doubtful cares of money-making — he had de- 
termined to draw his affairs into as narrow a compass as 
possible, with a view to withdrawing altogether from ac- 
tive life, on a handsome independence. Every one com- 
mended his prudence in so acting — in " letting well 
alone." " Easy come, easy go," is an old saw, but sig- 
nally characteristic of rapidly acquired commercial for- 
tunes : and by these, and similar prudential considera- 
tions, did they consider Mr Dudleigh to be actuated. 
This latter supposition was strengthened by observing 
the other parts of his conduct. His domestic arrange- 
ments indicated a spirit of rigorous retrenchment. His 
house near Richmond was advertised for sale, and bought 
" out and out" by a man who had grown rich in Mr 
Dudleigh's service. Mrs Dudleigh gave, received, and 
accepted fewer and fewer invitations : was less seen at 
public places ; and drove only in one plain chariot. 
Young Dudleigh's allowance at Oxford was curtailed, 
and narrowed down to £300 a-year ; and he was forbid- 
den to go abroad, that he might stay at home to prepare 
for — orders ! There was nothing questionable, or alarm- 
ing in all this, even to the most forward quidnuncs of the 
city. The world that had blazoned and lauded his, or 
rather his family's extravagance, now commended his 

VOL. II. Q 



242 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

judicious economy. As for himself personally, he had 
resumed his pristine clock-work punctuality of move- 
ments ; and the only difference to be perceived in his 
behaviour, was an air of unceasing thoughtfulness and 
reserve. This was accounted for, by the rumoured un- 
happiness he endured in his family — for which Mrs Dud- 
leigh was given ample credit. And then his favourite 
— his idolized child — Miss Dudleigh — was exhibiting 
alarming symptoms of ill health. She was notoriously 
neglected by her young and noble suitor, who continued 
abroad much longer than the period he had himself 
fixed on. She was of too delicate and sensitive a cha- 
racter, to hear with indifference the impertinent and cruel 
speculations which this occasioned in "society." When 
I looked at her — her beauty, her amiable and fascinating 
manners, her high accomplishments — and, in many con- 
versations, perceived the superior feelings of her soul, — 
it was with difficulty I brought myself to believe that 
she was the offspring of such a miserably inferior wo- 
man as her mother. — To return, however, to Mr Dud- 
leigh : He who has once experienced an attack of apo- 
plexy, ought never to be entirely from under medical sur- 
veillance. I was in the habit of calling upon him once 
or twice a-week to ascertain how he was going on. I 
observed a great change in him. Though never distin- 
guished by high animal spirits, he seemed now under 
the influence of a permanent and increasing melancholy. 
When I would put to him some such matter-of-fact 
question as — " How goes the world with you now, Mr 
Dudleigh ?" he would reply, with an air of lassitude, — 
" Oh, as it ought ! as it ought." He ceased to speak 
of his mercantile transactions with spirit or energy ; and 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 243 

it was only by a visible effort that he dragged himself 
into the city. 

When a man is once on the inclined plane of life — 
once fairly " going down hill," one push will do as much 
as fifty ; and such a one poor Mr Dudleigh was not long 
in receiving. Rumours were already flying about, that 
his credit had no more substantial support than paper 
props ; in other words, that he was obliged to resort to 
accommodation bills to meet his engagements. When 
once such reports are current and accredited, I need 
hardly say, that it is " all up" with a man in the city. 
And ought it not to be so ? I observed, a little while 
ago, that Mr Dudleigh, since his illness, conducted his 
affairs very differently from what he had formerly. He 
would freight his vessels with unmarketable cargoes, in 
spite of all the representations of his servants and friends ; 
and when his advices confirmed the truth of their sur- 
mises, he would order the goods to be sold off, frequently 
at a fifth or eighth of their value. These, and many si- 
milar freaks, becoming generally known, soon alienated 
from him the confidence even of his oldest connexions ; 
credit was given him reluctantly, and then only to a 
small extent — and sometimes even point blank refused ! 
He bore all this with apparent calmness, observing simply 
that " times were altered !" Still he had a corps de re- 
serve in his favourite investiture, — mortgages ; a species 
of security in which he long had locked up some forty 
or fifty thousand pounds. Anxious to assign a mort- 
gage for £15,000, he had at last succeeded in finding an 
assignee on advantageous terms, whose solicitor, after 
carefully inspecting the deed, pronounced it so much 
waste paper, owing to some great technical flaw, or iil- 



244 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

formality, which vitiated the whole ! Poor Mr Dudleigh 
hurried with consternation to his attorney ; who, after a 
long show of incredulity, at last acknowledged the exist- 
ence of the defect ! Under his advice, Mr Dudleigh 
instantly wrote to the party whose property was mort- 
gaged, frankly informing him of the circumstance, and 
appealing to his " honour and good feeling." He might 
as well have appealed to the winds ! for he received a re- 
ply from the mortgager's attorney, stating simply, that 
" his client was prepared to stand or fall by the deed, 
and so, of course, must the mortgager !" What was Mr 
Dudleigh's utter dismay at finding, on further examina- 
tion, that every mortgage transaction — except one for 
£1500 — which had been intrusted to the management 
of the same attorney, was equally, or even more invalid 
than the one above mentioned ! Two of the heaviest 
proved to be worthless, as second mortgages of the same 
property, and all the remainder were invalid on account 
of divers defects and informalities. It turned out that 
Mr Dudleigh had been in the hands of a swindler, who 
had intentionally committed the draft error, and colluded 
with his principal, to outwit his unsuspecting client, Mr 
Dudleigh, in the matter of the double mortgages ! Mr 
Dudleigh instantly commenced actions against the first 
mortgager, to recover the money he had advanced, in 
spite of the flaw in the mortgage deed, and against the 
attorney through whose villany he] had suffered so se- 
verely. In the former — which, of course, decided the 
fate of the remaining mortgages similarly situated — he 
failed ; in the latter, he succeeded, as far as the bare 
gaining of a verdict could be so considered ; but the at- 
torney, exasperated at being brought before the court 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 245 

and exposed by his client, defended the action in such a 
manner as did himself no good, at the same time that it 
nearly ruined the poor plaintiff; for he raked up every 
circumstance that had come to his knowledge profession- 
ally, during the course of several years' confidential con- 
nexion with Mr Dudleigh, and which could possibly be 
tortured into a disreputable shape ; and gave his foul 
brief into the hands of an ambitious young counsel, who, 
faithful to his instructions, and eager to make the most 
of so rich an opportunity of vituperative declamation, 
contrived so to blacken poor Mr Dudleigh's character, 
by cunning, cruel innuendoes, asserting nothing, but 
suggesting every thing vile and atrocious, that poor Mr 
Dudleigh, who was in court at the time, began to think 
himself, in spite of himself, one of the most execrable 
scoundrels in existence ; and hurried home in a parox- 
ysm of rage, agony, and despair, which, but for my be- 
ing opportunely sent for by Mrs Dudleigh, and bleed- 
ing him at once, must in all probability have induced 
a second and fatal apoplectic seizure. His energies, for 
weeks afterwards, lay in a state of complete stagnation ; 
and I found he was sinking into the condition of an ir- 
recoverable hypochondriac. Every thing, from that 
time, went wrong with him. He made no provision for 
the payment of his regular debts ; creditors precipitated 
their claims from all quarters ; and he had no resources 
to fall back upon at a moment's exigency. Some of the 
more forbearing of his creditors kindly consented to 
give him time, but the small fry pestered him to dis- 
traction ; and at last one of the latter class, a rude, hard- 
hearted fellow, cousin to the attorney whom Mr Dud- 
leigh had recently prosecuted, on receiving the requi- 



246 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

site " denial," instantly went and struck the docket 
against his unfortunate debtor, and Mr Dudleigh — the 
celebrated Mr Dudleigh — became a — Bankrupt ! 

For some hours after he had received an official no- 
tification of the event, he seemed completely stunned. 
He did not utter a syllable when first informed of it ; 
but his face assumed a ghastly paleness. He walked to 
and fro about the room — now pausing — then hurrying 
on — then pausing again, striking his hands on his fore- 
head, and exclaiming, with an abstracted and incredu- 
lous air, — " A bankrupt ! a bankrupt ! Henry Dudleigh 
a bankrupt. What are they saying on 'Change ?" In 
subsequently describing to me his feelings at this period, 
he said he felt as though he had " fallen into his grave 
for an hour or two, and come out again cold and stupi- 
fied." 

While he was in this state of mind, his daughter, 
entered the room, wan and trembling with agitation. 

" My dear little love, what's wrong ? What's wrong, 
eh ? What has dashed you, my sweet flower, eh ?" said 
he, folding her in his arms, and hugging her to his breast. 
He led her to a seat, and placed her on his knee. He 
passed his hand over her pale forehead. " What have 
you been about to-day, Agnes ? You've forgotten to 
dress your hair to-day," taking her raven tresses in his 
fingers ; " Come, these must be curled ! They are all 
damp, love ! What makes you cry ?" 

" My dear, dear, dear darling father !" sobbed the ago- 
nized girl, almost choked with her emotions — clasping 
her arms convulsively round his neck, " I love you 
dearer — a thousand times — than I ever loved you in my 
life !" 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 247 

" My sweet love !" he exclaimed, bursting into tears. 
Neither of them spoke for several minutes. 

" You are young, Agnes, and may be happy, — but as 
for me, I am an old tree, whose roots are rotten ! The 
blasts have beaten me down, my darling !" She clung 
closer to him, but spoke not. " Agnes, will you stay 
with me, now that I'm made a — a beggar ? Will you ? 
I can love you yet — but that's all !" said he, staring va- 
cantly at her. After a pause, he suddenly released her 
from his knee, rose from his seat, and walked hurriedly 
about the room. 

" Agnes, love ! Why, is it true — is it really true 
that I'm made a bankrupt of, after all? And is it come 
to that ?" He resumed his seat, covered his face with 
his hands, and wept like a child. " 'Tis for you, my 
darling — for my family — my children, that I grieve ! 
What is to become of you?" Again he paused. "Well! 
it cannot be helped — it is more my misfortune than my 
fault ! God knows, I've tried to pay my way as I went 
on — and — and — no, no ! it doesn't follow that every man 
is a villain that's a bankrupt !" 

" No, no, no, father!" replied his daughter, again fling- 
ing her arms round his neck, and kissing him with pas- 
sionate fondness, " Your honour is untouched — it is" 

" Ay, love — but to make the world think so — There's 
the rub ! What has been said on 'Change to-day, Agnes ? 
That's what hurts me to my soul !" 

* * " Come, father, be calm ! We shall yet be 
happy and quiet, after this little breeze has blown over! 
Oh, yes, yes, father ! We will remove to a nice little 
comfortable house, and live among ourselves !" 

" But, Agnes, can you do all this ? Can you make 



248 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

up your mind to live in a lower rank — to — to — to be, 
in a manner, your own servant ?" 

" Yes, God knows, I can ! Father, I'd rather be your 
servant girl, than wife of the king !" replied the poor girl 
with enthusiasm. 

" Oh, my daughter ! — Come, come let us go into the 
next room, and do you play me my old favourite — ' O 
Nanny wilt thou gang wi' me.' You'll feel it, Agnes !" 
He led her into the adjoining room, and set her down 
at the instrument, and stood by her side. 

" We must not part with this piano, my love — must 
we ?" said he, putting her arms round his neck, " we'll 
try and have it saved from the wreck of our furniture !" 
She commenced playing the tune he had requested, and 
went through it. 

" Sing, love — sing !" said her father. " I love the 
words as much as the music ! Would you cheat me, you 
little rogue ?" She made him no reply, but went on play- 
ing, very irregularly, however. 

" Come ! you must sing, Agnes." 

" I can't !" she murmured. " My heart is breaking ! 
My — my — bro — " and fell fainting into the arms of her 
father. He rang instantly for assistance. In carrying 
her from the music stool to the sofa, an open letter drop- 
ped from her bosom. Mr Dudleigh hastily picked it up, 
and saw that the direction was in the handwriting of his 
son, and bore the " Wapping" post-mark. The stun- 
ning contents were as follows : — " My dear, dear, dear 
Agnes, farewell ! it may be for ever .' I fly from my 
country ! While you are reading this note, I am on my 
way to America. Do not call me cruel, my sweet sis- 
ter, for my heart is broken ! broken ! Yesterday, near 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 249 

Oxford, I fought with a man who dared to insult me 
about our family troubles. I am afraid — God forgive 
me — that I have killed him ! Agnes, Agnes, the blood- 
hounds are after me ! Even were they not, I could not 
bear to look on my poor father, whom I have helped to 
ruin, under the encouragement of one who might have 
bred me better ! I cannot stay in England, for I have 
lost my station in society ; I owe thousands I can never 
repay ; besides — Agnes, Agnes ! the bloodhounds are 
after me ! I scarcely know what I am saying ! Break 
all this to my father — my wretched father — as gradually 
as you can. Do not let him know of it for a, fortnight, at 
least. May God be your friend, my dear Agnes ! Pray 
for me ! pray for me, my darling Agnes! — yes, for me, 
your wretched, guilty, heart-broken brother ! H. D." 

" Ah ! he might have done worse ! he might have 
done worse," exclaimed the stupified father. " Well, I 
must think about it !" and he calmly folded up the let- 
ter, to put it into his pocket-book, when his daughter's 
eye caught sight of it, for she had recovered from her 
swoon while he was reading it; and with a faint shriek, 
and a frantic effort to snatch it from him, she fell back, 
and swooned again. Even all this did not rouse Mr Dud- 
leigh. He sat still, gazing on his daughter with a va- 
cant stare, and did not make the slightest effort to assist 
her recovery. I was summoned in to attend her, for she 
was so ill that they carried her up to bed. 

Poor girl ! poor Agnes Dudleigh ! already had con- 
sumption marked her for his own ! The reader may 
possibly recollect, that, in a previous part of this narra- 
tive, Miss Dudleigh was represented to be affianced to 
a young nobleman. I need hardly, I suppose, inform 






250 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

him that the " affair" was " all off," as soon as ever Lord 

heard of her fallen fortunes. To do him justice, 

he behaved in the business with perfect politeness and 
condescension ; wrote to her from Italy, carefully return- 
ing her all her letters ; spoke of her admirable qualities 
in the handsomest strain ; and, in choice and feeling lan- 
guage, regretted the altered state of his affections, and 
that the " fates had ordained their separation." A few 
months afterwards, the estranged couple met casually in 

Hyde Park, and Lord passed Miss Dudleigh with 

a strange stare of irrecognit ion, that showed the advances 
he had made in the command of manner ! She had been 
really attached to him, for he was a young man of hand- 
some appearance, and elegant, winning manners. The 
only things he wanted were a head and a heart. This 
circumstance, added to the perpetual harassment of do- 
mestic sorrows, had completely undermined her delicate 
constitution ; and her brother's conduct prostrated the 
few remaining energies that were left her. 

But Mrs Dudleigh has latterly slipped from our ob- 
servation. I have little more to say about her. Aware 
that her own infamous conduct had conduced to her hus- 
band's ruin, she had resigned herself to the incessant 
lashings of remorse, and was wasting away daily. Her 
excesses had long before sapped her constitution ; and 
she was now little else than a walking skeleton. She sat 
moping in her bedroom for hours together, taking little 
or no notice of what happened about her, and manifest- 
ing no interest in life. When, however, she heard of her 
son's fate — the only person on earth she really loved — 
the intelligence smote her finally down. She never 
recovered from the stroke. The only words" she utter- 



THE Rl'INED MERCHANT. 251 

ed, after hearing of his departure for America, were, 
" Wretched woman! guilty mother ! I have done it all!" 
The serious illness of her poor daughter affected her 
scarcely at all. She would sit at her bedside, and pay 
her every attention in her power ; but it was rather in 
the spirit and manner of a hired nurse than a mother. 

To return, however, to the "chief mourner" — Mr Dud- 
leigh. The attorney, whom he had sued for his villany 
in the mortgage transactions, contrived to get appoint- 
ed solicitor to the commission of bankruptcy sued out 
against Mr Dudleigh ; and he enhanced the bitterness 
and agony incident to the judicial proceedings he was 
employed to conduct, by the cruelty and insolence of his 
demeanour. He would not allow the slightest indulgence 
to the poor bankrupt, whom he was selling out of house 
and home ; but remorselessly seized on every atom of 
goods and furniture the law allowed him, and put the 
heart-broken, helpless family to all the inconvenience his 
malice could suggest. His conduct was, throughout, 
mean, tyrannical — even diabolical, in its contemptuous 
disregard of the best feelings of human nature. Mr Dud- 
leigh's energies were too much exhausted to admit of 
remonstrance or resistance. The only evidence he gave 
of smarting under the man's insolence, was, after endu- 
ring an outrageous violation of his domestic privacy — a 
cruel interference with the few conveniences of his dying 
daughter, and sick wife — when he suddenly touched the 
attorney's arm, and, in a low, broken tone of voice, said, 

" Mr , I am a poor, heart-broken man, and have no 

•one to avenge me, or you would not dare to do this ;" 
and he turned away in tears! The house and furniture 
in Square, with every other item of property that 



252 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 



was available, being disposed of, on winding up the af- 
fairs, it proved that the creditors could obtain a dividend 
of about fifteen shillings in the pound. So convinced 
were they of the unimpeached — the uninpeachable in- 
tegrity of the poor bankrupt, that they not only spon- 
taneously released him from all future claims, but entered 
into a subscription amounting to £2000, which they put 
into his hands, for the purpose of enabling him to re- 
commence housekeeping, on a small scale, and obtain 
some permanent means of livelihood. Under their ad- 
vice, or rather direction — for he was passive as an infant 
— he removed to a small house in Chelsea, and com- 
menced business as a coal merchant, or agent for the 
sale of coals, in a small and poor way, it may be sup- 
posed. His new house was very small, but neat, con- 
venient, and situated in a quiet and creditable street. 
Yes, in a little one-storied house, with about eight square 
feet of garden frontage, resided the once wealthy and 
celebrated Mr Dudleigh I 

The very first morning after Mrs Dudleigh had been 
removed to her new quarters, she was found dead in her 
bed : for the fatigues of changing her residence, added to 
the remorse and chagrinwhich had so long preyed upon 
her mind, had extinguished the last spark of her vital 
energies. When I saw her, which was not till the even- 
ing of the second day after her decease, she was lying 
in her coffin ; and I shall not soon forget the train of in- 
structive reflections elicited by the spectacle. Poor 
creature — her features looked indeed haggard and grief- 
worn ! Mr Dudleigh wept over her remains like a child, 
and kissed the cold lips and hands with the liveliest 
transports of regret. At length came the day of the fu- 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 253 

neral, as plain and unpretending a one as could be. At 
the pressing solicitations of Mr Dudleigh, I attended her 
remains to the grave. It was an affecting thought, that 
the daughter was left dying in the house from which her 
mother was carried out to burial. Mr Dudleigh went 
through the whole of the melancholy ceremony with a 
calmness — and even cheerfulness — which surprised me. 
He did not betray any emotion when leaving the ground ; 
except turning to look into the grave, and exclaiming, 
rather faintly, — " Well — here we leave you, poor wife !" 
On our return home, about three o'clock in the after- 
noon, he begged to be left alone for a few minutes, with 
pen, ink, and paper, as he had some important letters to 
write ; and requested me to wait for him, in Miss Dud- 
leigh's room, where he would rejoin me, and accompany 
me part of my way up to town. I repaired, therefore, 
to Miss Dudleigh's chamber. She was sitting up, and 
dressed in mourning. The marble paleness of her even 
then beautiful features, was greatly enhanced by con- 
trast with the deep black drapery she wore. She re- 
minded me of the snowdrop she had an hour or two be- 
fore laid on the pall of her mother's coffin ! Her beauty 
was fast withering away under, the blighting influence 
of sorrow and disease ! She reclined in an easy-chair, her 
head leaning on her small snowy hand, the taper fingers 
of which were half concealed beneath her dark, cluster- 
ing, uncurled tresses — 

Like a white rose, glistening 'mid evening gloom. 

" How did he bear it ?" she whispered, with a profound 
sigh, as soon as I had taken my place beside her. I told 
her that he had gone through the whole with more calm- 



254 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

ness and fortitude than could have been expected. " Ah ! 
— 'tis unnatural ! He's grown strangely altered within 
these last few days, Doctor ! He never seems to feel any 
thing ! His troubles have stunned his heart, I'm afraid ! 
Don't you think he looks altered ?" 

" Yes, my love, he is thinner, certainly." 

« Ah — his hair is white ! He is old — he won't be long 
behind us !" 

" I hope, that now he is freed from the cares and dis- 
tractions of business" 

" Doctor, is the grave deep enough for three ?" in- 
quired the poor girl, abruptly, as if she had not heard 
me speaking. " Our family has been strangely desolated, 
Doctor — has not it ? My mother gone ; the daughter on 
her deathbed ; the father wretched, and ruined ; the son 
— flown from his country — perhaps dead, or dying ! But 
it has all been our own fault" 

" You have nothing to accuse yourself of, Miss Dud- 
leigh," said I. She shook her head, and burst into tears. 
This was the melancholy vein of our conversation, when 
Mr Dudleigh made his appearance, in his black gloves, 
and crape-covered hat, holding two letters in his hand. 

" Come, Doctor," said he, rather briskly, " you've a 
long walk before you ! I'll accompany you part of the 
way, as I have some letters to put into the post." 

" Oh, don't trouble yourself about that, Mr Dudleigh! 
/'// put them into the post, as I go by." 

" No, no — thank you — thank you," he interrupted 
me, with rather an embarrassed air, I thought ; " I've se- 
veral other little matters to do, and we had better be 
starting." I rose, and took my leave of Miss Dudleigh. 
Her father put his arms round her neck, and kissed her 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 255 

very fondly. " Keep up your spirits, Agnes ! — and see 
and get into bed as soon as possible, for you are quite 
exhausted !" He walked towards the door. " Oh, bless 
your little heart, my lore !" said he, suddenly returning 
to her, and kissing her more fondly, if possible, than be- 
fore. " We shall not be apart long, I dare say !" 

We set off on our walk towards town ; and Mr Dud- 
leigh conversed with great calmness, speaking of his af- 
fairs, even in an encouraging tone. At length we sepa- 
rated. " Remember me kindly to Mrs ," said he, 

mentioning my wife's name, and shaking me warmly by 
the hand. 

The next morning, as I sat at breakfast, making out 
my daily list, my wife, who had one of the morning pa- 
pers in her hand, suddenly let it fall, and, looking pale- 
ly at me, exclaimed — " Oh, surely — surely, my dear, 
this can never be — Mr Dudleigh !" I inquired what she 
meant, and she pointed out the following paragraph : — 

" Attempted Suicide Yesterday evening, an el- 
derly gentleman, dressed in deep mourning, was ob- 
served walking for some time near the water-side, a little 
above Chelsea-Reach, and presently stepped on board 
one of the barges, and threw himself from the outer 
one into the river. Most providentially this latter move- 
ment was seen by a boatman who was rowing past, and 
who succeeded, after some minutes, in seizing hold of 
the unfortunate person, and lifting him into the boat — 
bat not till the vital spark seemed extinct. He was im- 
mediately carried to the public-house by the water-side, 
where prompt and judicious means were made use of — 
and with success. He is now lying at the public- 
house ; but, as there were no papers or cards about him, 



256 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

his name is at present unknown. The unfortunate gen- 
tleman is of middling stature — rather full made — of ad- 
vanced years — his hair very gray, and he wears a mourn- 
ing ring on his left hand." 

I rang the bell, ordered a coach, drew on my boots, 
and put on my walking-dress; and in a little more than 
three or four minutes was hurrying on my way to the 
house mentioned in the newspaper. A twopenny post- 
man had the knocker in his hand at the moment of my 
opening the door, and put into my hand a paid letter, 
which I tore open as I drove along. Good God ! it was 
from — Mr Dudleigh. It afforded unequivocal evidence 
of the insanity which had led him to attempt his life. It 
was written in a most extravagant and incongruous 
strain, and acquainted me with the writer's intention to 
" bid farewell to his troubles that evening." It ended 
with informing me, that I was left a legacy in his will 
for £5000 — and hoping that when his poor daughter 
died, " I would see her magnificently buried." By the 
time I had arrived at the house where he lay, I was al- 
most fainting with agitation: and I was compelled to 
wait some minutes below before I could sufficiently re- 
cover my self-possession. On entering the bedroom 
where he lay, I found him undressed, and fast asleep. 
There was no appearance whatever of discomposure in 
the features. His hands were clasped closely together — 
and in that position he had continued for several hours. 
The medical man who had been summoned in over night, 
sat at his bedside, and informed me that his patient was 
going on as well as could be expected. The treatment 
he had adopted had been very judicious and successful; 
and I had no doubt that, when next Mr Dudleigh awoke, 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 257 

he would feel little if any the worse for what he had suf- 
fered. All my thoughts were now directed to Miss 
Dudleigh ; for I felt sure that, if the intelligence bad 
found its way to her, it must have destroyed her. I ran 
every inch of the distance between the two houses, and 
knocked gently at the door with my knuckles, that I 
might not disturb Miss Dudleigh. The servant-girl, see- 
ing my discomposed appearance, would have created a 
disturbance, by shrieking, or making some other noise, 
had I not placed my fingers on her mouth, and in a 
whisper, asked how her mistress was ? " Master went 
home with you, sir, did not he ?" she inquired, with an 
alarmed air. 

« Yes — yes ;" I replied, hastily. 

" Oh, I told Miss so ! I told her so !" replied the girl, 
clasping her hands, and breathing freer. 

" Oh, she has been uneasy about his not coming home 
last night — eh ? — Ah — I thought so this morning, and 
that is what has brought me here in such a hurry," said 
I, as calmly as I could. After waiting down stairs to 
recover my breath a little, I repaired to Miss Dudleigh's 
room. She was awake. The moment I entered, she 
started up in bed, — her eyes straining, and her arms 
stretched towards me. 

" My — my — father !" she gasped ; and before I 

could open my lips, or even reach her side, she had fall- 
en back in bed, and — as I thought — expired. She had 
swooned : and during the whole course of my experi- 
ence, I never saw a swoon so long and closely resemble 
death. For more than an hour, the nurse, servant girl, 
and I, hung over her in agonizing and breathless sus- 
pense, striving to detect her breath — which made no ini- 

VOL. II. R 



258 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

pression whatever on the glass I from time to time held 
over her mouth. Her pulse fluttered and fluttered — 
feebler and feebler, till I could not perceive that it beat 
at all. " Well !" thought I, at last removing my fingers, 
" you are gone, sweet Agnes Dudleigh, from a world 
that has but few as fair and good !" — when a slight un- 
dulation of the breast, accompanied by a faint sigh, in- 
dicated slowly returning consciousness. Her breath 
came again, short and faint ; but she did not open her 
eyes for some time after. * * * 

" Well, my sweet girl," said I, presently observing 
her eyes fixed steadfastly on me ; " why all this ? What 
has happened ? What is the matter with you ?" and I 
clasped her cold fingers in my hand. By placing my 
ear so close to her lips that it touched them, I distin- 
guished the sound — " My fa — father !" 

" Well ! and what of your father ? He is just as usual, 
and sends his love to you." Her eyes, as it were, di- 
lated on me ; her breath came quicker and stronger, and 
her frame vibrated with emotion. " He is coming home 
shortly, by — by — -four o'clock this afternoon — yes, four 
o'clock at the latest. Thinking that a change of scene 
might revive his spirits, I prevailed on him last night 
to walk on with me home — and — and he slept at my 
house." She did not attempt to speak, but her eye con- 
tinued fixed on me with an unwavering look that search- 
ed my very soul ! " My wife and Mr Dudleigh will 
drive down together," I continued, firmly, though my 
heart sank within me at the thought of the improbabi- 
lity of such being the case ; " and I shall return here 
by the time they arrive, and meet them. Come, come, 
Miss Dudleigh — this is weak — absurd !" said I, observ- 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 259 

ing that what I said seemed to make no impression on 
her. I ordered some port wine and water to be brought, 
and forced a few tea-spoonfuls into her mouth. They 
revived her, and I gave her more. In a word, she ra- 
pidly recovered from the state of uttermost exhaustion 
into which she had fallen ; and before I left, she said 
solemnly to me, " Doctor ! If — if you have de- 
ceived me ! — if any thing dreadful has really — really" 

I left, half distracted to think of the impossibility of 
fulfilling the promise I had made her, as well as of ac- 
counting satisfactorily for not doing so. What could I 
do ? I drove rapidly homewards, and requested my wife 
to hurry down immediately to Miss Dudleigh, and pacify 
her with saying that her father was riding round with me, 
for the sake of exercise, and that we should come to 
her together. I then hurried through my few profes- 
sional calls, and repaired to Mr Dudleigh. To my un- 
utterable joy and astonishment, I found him up, dressed 
— for his clothes had been drying all night — and sitting 
quietly by the fire, in company with the medical man. 
His appearance exhibited no traces whatever of the ac- 
cident which had befallen him. But, alas ! on looking 
close at him — on examining his features — Oh, that eye ! 
that smile ! they told me of departed reason ! — I was 
gazing on an idiot ! O God ! What was to become of 
Miss Dudleigh ? How was I to bring father and daugh- 
ter face to face ? My knees smote together, while I sat 
beside him ! But it must be done, or Miss Dudleigh's 
life would be the forfeit ! The only project I could hit 
upon for disguising the frightful state of the case, was 
to hint to Miss Dudleigh, if she perceived any thing 
wild or unusual in his demeanour, that he was a littlr 



260 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

flustered with wine ! But what a circumstance to com- 
municate to the dying girl ! And even if it succeeded, 
what would ensue on the next morning ? Would it be 
safe to leave him with her ? I was perplexed and con- 
founded between all these painful conjectures and diffi- 
culties ! 

He put on his hat and great-coat, and we got into my 
chariot together. He was perfectly quiet and gentle, 
conversed on indifferent subjects, and spoke of having 
had " a cold bath" last night, which had done him much 
good ! My heart grew heavier and heavier as we near- 
ed the home where I was to bring her idiot father to 
Miss Dudleigh ! I felt sick with agitation, as we de- 
scended the carriage steps. 

But I was for some time happily disappointed. He 
entered her room with eagerness, ran up to her and kiss- 
ed her with his usual affectionate energy. She held him 
in her arms for some time, exclaiming, — " Oh, father, 
father ! How glad I am to see you ! I thought some 
accident had happened to you ! Why did you not tell 

me that you were going home with Dr ?" My wife 

and I trembled, and looked at each other despairingly. 

" Why," replied her father, sitting down beside her, 

" you see, my love, Dr recommended me a cold 

bath." 

" A cold bath at this time of the year!" exclaimed 
Miss Dudleigh, looking at me with astonishment. I 
smiled, with ill-assumed nonchalance. 

" It is very advantageous at — at — even this season of 
the year," I stammered, for I observed Miss Dudleigh's 
eye fixed on me like a ray of lightning. 

" Yes ; but they ought to have taken off my clothes 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 261 

first" said Mr Dudleigh, with a shuddering motion. His 
daughter suddenly laid her hand on him, uttered a faint 
shriek, and fell back in her bed in a swoon. The dread- 
ful scene of the morning was all acted over again. I 
think I should have rejoiced to see her expire on the 
spot ; but no ! Providence had allotted her a farther 
space, that she might drain the cup of sorrow to the dregs! 
***** 

Tuesday, \&th July 18 — . I am still in attendance 
on poor unfortunate Miss Dudleigh. The scenes I have 
to encounter are often anguishing, and even heart-break- 
ing. She lingers on day after day, and week after week, 
in increasing pain ! By the bedside of the dying girl, 
sits the figure of an elderly grey -haired man, dressed in 
neat and simple mourning — now gazing into vacancy 
with " lack lustre eye" — and then suddenly kissing her 
hand with childish eagerness, and chattering mere gib- 
berish to her ! It is her idiot father ! Yes, he proves 
an irrecoverable idiot — but is uniformly quiet and inof- 
fensive. We at first intended to have sent him to a 
neighbouring private institution for the reception of the 
insane ; but poor Miss Dudleigh would not hear of it, 
and threatened to destroy herself, if her father was re- 
moved. She insisted on his being allowed to continue 
with her, and consented that a proper person should be 
in constant attendance on him. She herself could ma- 
nage him, she said ! and so it proved. He is a mere 
child in her hands. If ever he is inclined to be mischie- 
vous or obstreperous — which is very seldom — if she do 
but say, " hush !" or lift up her trembling finger, or fix 
her eye upon him reprovingly, he is instantly cowed, 
and runs up to her to " kiss and be friends." He often 



262 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

falls down on his knees, when he thinks he has offended 
her, and cries like a child. She will not trust him out 
of her sight for more than a few moments together — 
except when he retires with his guardian, to rest : and, 
indeed, he shows as little inclination to leave her. The 
nurse's situation is almost a sort of sinecure ; for the an- 
xious officiousness of Mr Dudleigh leaves her little to 
do. He alone gives his daughter her medicine and food, 
and does so with exquisite gentleness and tenderness. 
He has no notion of her real state — that she is dying ; 
and finding that she could not succeed in her efforts 
gradually to apprize him of the event, which he always 
turned off with a smile of incredulity, she gives into his 
humour, and tells him — poor girl ! — that she is getting 
better ! He has taken it into his head that she is to 

be married to Lord , as soon as she recovers, and 

talks with high glee of the magnificent repairs going on 
at his former house in Square ! He always ac- 
companies me to the door ; and sometimes writes me 
cheques for £50 — which, of course, is a delusion only — 
as he has no banker, and few funds to put in his hands ; 
and at other times, slips a shilling or a sixpence into 
my hand at leaving — thinking, doubtless, that he has 
given me a guinea. 

Friday The idea of Miss Dudleigh's rapidly ap- 
proaching marriage continues still uppermost in her fa- 
ther's head ; and he is incessantly pestering her to make 
preparations for the event. To-day he appealed to me, 
and complained that she would not order her wedding- 
dress. 

" Father, dear father !" said Miss Dudleigh, faintly, 
laying her wasted hand on his arm, — " only be quiet a 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 26-'3 

little, and I'll begin to make it ! — I'll really set about it 
to-morrow !" He kissed her fondly, and then eagerh' 
emptied his pockets of all the loose silver that was in 
them, telling her to take it, and order the materials. I 
saw that there was something or other peculiar in the 
expression of Miss Dudleigh's eye, in saying what she 
did — as if some sudden scheme had suggested itself to 
her. Indeed, the looks with which she constantly re- 
gards him, are such as I can find no adequate terms of 
description for. They bespeak blended anguish — ap- 
prehension — pity — love — in short, an expression that 
haunts me wherever I go. Oh, what a scene of suffer- 
ing humanity ! — a daughter's deathbed, watched by an 
idiot father ! 

Monday I now know what was Miss Dudleigh's 

meaning, in assenting to her father's proposal last Fri- 
day. I found, this morning, the poor dear girl engaged 
on her shroud ! — It is of fine muslin, and she is attempt- 
ing to sew and embroider it. The people about her did 
all they could to dissuade her : but there was at last no 
resisting her importunities. Yes ! — there she sits, poor 
thing, propped up by pillows, making frequent, but 
feeble, efforts to draw her needle through her gloomy 
work, — her father, the while, holding one end of the 
muslin, and watching her work with childish eagerness ! 
Sometimes a tear will fall from her eyes while thus en- 
gaged. It did this morning. Mr Dudleigh observed 
it, and, turning to me, said, with an arch smile, " Ah 
ha !— how is it that young ladies always cry about be- 
ing married ?" Oh, the look Miss Dudleigh gave me, 
as she suddenly dropped her work, and turned her head 
aside ! 



264 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

Saturday. — Mr Dudleigh is hard at work making his 
daughter a cowslip wreath, out of some flowers given 
him by his keeper. 

When I took my leave to-day, he accompanied me, as 
usual, down stairs, and led the way into the little par- 
lour. He then shut the door, and told me in a low whis- 
per, that he wished me to bring him an honest lawyer, 
— to make his will : for that he was going to settle 
£ 200,000 upon his daughter ! — of course I put him off 
with promises to look out for what he asked. It is ra- 
ther remarkable, I think, that he has never once, in my 
hearing, made any allusion to his deceased wife. As I 
shook his hand at parting, he stared suddenly at me, and 
said — " Doctor — Doctor ! my daughter is very slow in 
getting well — isn't she ?" 

Monday, July 23 The suffering angel will soon 

leave us and all her sorrows ! — She is dying fast. She 
is very much altered in appearance, and has not power 
enough to speak in more than a whisper — and that but 
seldom. Her father sits gazing at her with a puzzled 
air, as if he did not know what to make of her unusual 
silence. He was a good deal vexed when she laid aside 
her " wedding-dress ;" and tried to tempt her to resume 
it, by showing her a shilling ! While I was sitting be- 
side her, Miss Dudleigh, without opening her eyes, ex- 
claimed, scarcely audible, " Oh ! be kind to him ! be 
kind to him ! He won't be long here ! He is very 
gentle !" 

evening. — Happening to be summoned to the 

neighbourhood, I called a second time during the day 
on Miss Dudleigh. All was quiet when I entered the 
room. The nurse was sitting at the window, reading ; 



THE RUINED MERCHANT. 265 

and Mr Dudleigh occupied his usual place at the bed- 
side, leaning over his daughter, whose arms were clasp- 
ed together round his neck. 

" Hush ! hush !" — said Mr Dudleigh, in a low whis- 
per, as I approached, — " Don't make a noise — she's 
asleep !" — Yes, she was asleep — and to wake no more ! 
Her snow-cold arms, — her features, which, on parting 
the dishevelled hair that hid them, I perceived to be 
fallen — told me that she was dead ! 



She was buried in the same grave as her mother. Her 
wretched father, contrary to our apprehensions, made 
no disturbance whatever while she lay dead. They told 
him that she was no more — but he did not seem to com- 
prehend what was meant. He would take hold of her 
passive hand, gently shake it, and let it fall again, with 
a melancholy wandering stare, that was pitiable ! He 
sat at her coffin-side all day long, and laid fresh flowers 
upon her every morning. Dreading lest some sudden 
paroxysm might occur, if he was suffered to see the lid 
screwed down, and her remains removed, we gave him 
a tolerably strong opiate in some wine, on the morning 
of the funeral ; and as soon as he was fast asleep, we 
proceeded with the last sad rites, and committed to the 
cold and quiet grave another broken heart ! 

Mr Dudleigh suffered himself to be soon after con- 
veyed to a private asylum, where he had every comfort 
and attention requisite for his circumstances. He had 
fallen into profound melancholy, and seldom or never 
spoke to any one. He would shake me by the hand lan- 
guidly when I called to see him, but hung down his head 
in silence, without answering any of my questions. 



266 THE RUINED MERCHANT. 

His favourite seat was a rustic bench beneath an am- 
ple sycamore-tree, in the green behind the house. Here 
he would sit for hours together, gazing fixedly in one 
direction, towards a rustic church-steeple, and uttering 
deep sighs. No one interfered with him ; and he took 
no notice of any one. One afternoon a gentleman of 
foreign appearance called at the asylum, and in a hur- 
ried, faltering voice, asked if he could see Mr Dudleigh. 
A servant but newly engaged on the establishment, im- 
prudently answered — " Certainly, sir. Yonder he is, 
sitting under the sycamore. He never notices any one, 
sir." The stranger — young Dudleigh, who had but that 
morning arrived from America — rushed past the servant 
into the garden ; and flinging down his hat, fell on one 
knee before his father, clasping his hands over his breast. 
Finding his father did not seem inclined to notice him, 
he gently touched him on the knee, and whispered — 
" father !" Mr Dudleigh started at the sound — turn- 
ed suddenly towards his son — looked him full in the face 
— fell back in his seat — and instantly expired ! 



( 267 ) 



CHAPTER VII. 



MOTHER AND SON. 



This is the last, and — it may be considered — most 
mournful extract from my Diary. It appears to me a 
touching and terrible disclosure of the misery, disgrace, 
and ruin consequent on Gambling. Not that I ima- 
gine it possible, even by the most moving exhibition, 
to soften the more than nether millstone hardness of a 
gamester's heart, or enable a voluntary victim to break 
from the meshes in which he has suffered himself to be 
entangled ; but the lamentable cries ascending from this 
pit of horror, may scare off those who are thoughtlessly 
approaching its brink. The moral of the following 
events may be gathered up into a word or two : — Oh ! 
be wise — and be wise in time ! 

I took more than ordinary pains to acquaint myself 
with the transactions which are hereafter specified ; and 
some of the means I adopted are occasionally mention- 
ed, as I go on with the narrative. It may be as well to 
state, that the events detailed, are assigned a date which 
barely comes within the present century. I have rea- 



268 MOTHER AND SON. 

son, nevertheless, to know, that at least one of the guil- 
ty agents still survives to pollute the earth with his pre- 
sence ; and if that individual should presume to gain- 
say any portion of the following narrative, his impotent 
efforts will meet with the disdain they merit ! 



Mr Beauchamp came to the full receipt of a fortune 
of two or three thousand a-year, which, though heredi- 
tary, was at his absolute disposal, about the period of 
his return from those continental peregrinations which 
are judged essential to complete an English gentleman's 
education. External circumstances seemed to combine 
in his favour. Happiness and honour in life were en- 
sured him, at the cost of very moderate exertions on his 
own part, and those requisite, not to originate, or con- 
tinue his course — but only to guide it. No one was 
better apprized than himself, of the precise position he 
occupied in life ; yet the apparent immunity from the 
cares and anxieties of life, which seemed irrevocably se- 
cured to him, instead of producing its natural effect on 
a well-ordered mind, of stimulating it to honourable ac- 
tion, led to widely different, most melancholy, but by 
no means unusual results, — a prostitution of Iris ener- 
gies and opportunities to the service of fashionable dis- 
sipation. The restraints to which, during a long mino- 
rity, he had been subjected by his admirable mother, 
who nursed his fortune as sedulously, but more success- 
fully, than she cultivated his mind and morals — served, 
alas ! little other purpose than to whet his appetite for 
the pleasurable pursuits to which he considered himself 
entitled, and from which he had been so long and un- 



MOTHER AND SON. 269 

necessarily debarred. All these forbidden fruits clus- 
tered before liim in tempting, but unhallowed splendour, 
the instant that Oxford threw open its portals to receive 
him. He found there many spirits as ardent and dis- 
satisfied with past restraints as himself. The principal 
features of his character were flexibility and credulity ; 
and his leading propensity — one that, like the wrath of 
Achilles, drew after it innumerable sorrows — the love 
of play. 

The first false step he made was an unfortunate selec- 
tion of a tutor; a man of agreeable and compliant man- 
ners, but utterly worthless in point of moral character ; 
one who had impoverished himself, when first at College, 
by gaming, but who, having learned "wisdom" was now 
a subtle and cautious gamester. He was one of a set of 
notorious^j/Mc^er*, among whom, shameful to relate, were 
found several young men of rank : and whose business 
it was to seek out freshmen for their dupes. Eccles — 
the name I shall give the tutor — was an able mathema- 
tician ; and that was the only thing that Beauchamp look- 
ed to in selecting him. Beauchamp got regularly intro- 
duced to the set to which his tutor belonged ; but his 
mother's lively and incessant surveillance put it out of 
his power to embarrass himself by serious losses. He 
was long enough, however, apprenticed to guilt, to form 
the habits and disposition of a gamester. The cunning 
Eccles, when anxiously interrogated by Mrs Beauchamp 
about her son's general conduct, gave his pupil a flourish- 
ing character, both for moral excellence and literary at- 
tainments, and acquitted him of any tendency to the 
vices usually prevalent at College. And all this, when 
Eccles knew that he had seen, but a few weeks before. 



270 MOTHER AND SON. 

among his pupil's papers, copies of long bills, accepted 
payable on his reaching twenty-one — to the tune of 
£ 1500 ; and farther, that he, the tutor himself, was the 
holder of one of these acceptances ; which ensured him 
£500 for the £300 he had kindly furnished for his pu- 
pil ! His demure and plausible air, quite took with the 
unsuspicious Mrs Beauchamp ; and she thought it im- 
possible that her son could find a fitter companion to the 
Continent ! 

On young Beauchamp's return to England, the first 
thing he did was to despatch his obsequious tutor into 
the country, to trumpet his pupil's praises to his mother, 
and apprize her of his coming. The good old lady was 
in ecstasies at the glowing colours in which her son's 
virtues were painted by Eccles, — such uniform modera- 
tion and prudence, amidst the seductive scenes of the 
Continent — such shining candour — such noble liberality! 
— In the fulness of her heart, Mrs Beaucamp promised 
the tutor, who was educated for the church, the next pre- 
sentation to a living which was expected very shortly to 
fall vacant — as some " small return for the invaluable 
services he had rendered her son !" 

It was a memorable day when young Beauchamp, 
arrived at the Hall in shire, stood suddenly be- 
fore his transported mother, in all the pride of person, 
and of apparent accomplishments. He was indeed a fine 
young fellow to look at. His well-cast features beamed 
with an expression of frankness and generosity ; and his 
manners were exquisitely tempered with cordiality and 
elegance. He had brushed the bloom off continental 
flowers, in passing, and caught their glow and perfume. 

It was several minutes before he could disengage him- 



MOTHER AND SON. 271 

self from the embraces of his mother, who laughed and 
wept by turns, and uttered the most passionate exclama- 
tions of joy and affection. " Oh, that your poor old fa- 
ther could see you !" she sobbed, and almost cried her- 
self into hysterics. Young Beauchamp was deeply moved 
with this display of parental tenderness. He saw and 
felt that his mother's whole soul was bound up with his 
own ; and, with the rapid resolutions of youth, he had 
in five minutes changed the whole course and scope of 
his life, — renounced the pleasures of London, and re- 
solved to come and settle on his estates in the country, 
live under the proud and fond eye of his mother, and, 
in a word, tread in the steps of his father. He felt sud- 
denly imbued with the spirit of the good old English 
country gentleman, and resolved to live the life of one. 
There was, however, a cause in operation, and powerful 
operation, to bring about this change of feeling, to which 
I have not yet adverted. His cousin, Ellen Beauchamp, 
happened to be thought of by her aunt, as a fit person 
to be staying with her when her son arrived. Yes — the 
little blue-eyed girl with whom he had romped fifteen 
years ago, now sat beside him in the bloom of budding 
womanhood — her peachy cheeks alternately pale and 
flushed, as she saw her cousin's inquiring eye settled 
upon her, and scanning her beautiful proportions. Mr 
Beauchamp took the very first opportunity he could seize 
of asking his mother witli some trepidation, " whether 
Ellen was engaged." 

" I think she is not," replied his delighted mother, 
bursting into tears, and folding him in her arms — " but 
1 wish somebody would take the earliest opportunity of 
doing so." 



272 MOTHER AND SON. 

" Ah, ha? — Then she's Mrs Beauchamp, junior!" re- 
plied her son, with enthusiasm. 

Matters were quickly, quietly, and effectually arranged 
to bring about that desirable end — as they always are, 
when all parties understand one another ; and young 
Beauchamp made up his mind to appear in a new cha- 
racter — that of a quiet country gentleman, the friend and 
patron of an attached tenantry, and a promising aspirant 
after county honours. What is there in life like the sweet 
and freshening feelings of the wealthy young squire, 
stepping into the sphere of his hereditary honours and 
influence, and becoming at once the revered master of 
household and tenantry, grown gray in his father's ser- 
vice — the prop of his family — and the " rising man" in 
the county! Young Beauchamp experienced these salu- 
tary and reviving feelings in their full force. They di- 
verted the current of his ambition into a new course, 
and enabled him keenly to appreciate his own capabili- 
ties. The difference between the life he had just deter- 
mined on, and that he had formerly projected, was sim- 
ply — so to speak — the difference between being a Triton 
among minnows, and a minnow among Tritons. At home, 
residing on his own property, surrounded by his own 
dependents, and by neighbours who were solicitous to 
secure his good graces, he could feel and enjoy his own 
consequence. Thus, in every point of view, a country 
life appeared preferable to one in the " gay and whirl- 
pool crowded town." 

There was, however, one individual at Hall, 

who viewed these altered feelings and projects with no 
satisfaction — it was Mr Eccles. This mean and selfish 
individual saw at once, that, in the event of these altera- 



MOTHER AND SON. 278 

tions being carried into effect, his own nefarious services 
would be instantly dispensed with, and a state of feelings 
brought into play, which would lead his pupil to look 
with disgust at the scenes to which he had been intro- 
duced at College, and on the Continent. He immediate- 
ly set to work to frustrate the plans of his pupil. He 
selected the occasion of his being sent for one morning 
by Mr Beauchamp into his library, to commence opera- 
tions. He was not discouraged, when his ci-devant pu- 
pil, whose eyes had really, as Eccles suspected, been 
opened to the iniquity of his tutor's doings, commenced 
thanking him in a cold and formal style for his past ser- 
vices, and requested presentation of the bill he held 
against him for £ 500, which he instantly paid. He then 
proceeded, without interruption from the mortified Ec- 
cles, to state his regret at being unable to reward his 
services with a living, at present ; but that if ever it were 
in his power, he might rely on it, &c. &c. Mr Eccles, 
with astonishment, mentioned the living of which Mrs 
Beauchamp had promised him the reversion ; but received 
an evasive reply from Mr Beauchamp, who was at length 
so much irritated at the pertinacity, and even the re- 
proachful tone with which his tutor pressed his claim, that 
he said sharply, " Mr Eccles, when my mother made you 
that promise, she never consulted me, in whose sole gift 
the living is. And besides, sir, what did she know of 
our tricks at French Hazard, and Rouge et Noir? She 
must have thought your skill at play an odd recommenda- 
tion for the duties of the Church." High words, mutual 
recriminations, and threats ensued, and they parted in 
anger. The tutor resolved to make his " ungrateful" 
pupil repent of his misconduct, and he lacked neither 
vol. n. s 



247 MOTHER AND SON. 

the tact nor the opportunities necessary for accomplishing 
his purpose. The altered demeanour of Mrs Beauchamp, 
together with the haughty and constrained civility of her 
son, soon warned Mr Eccles that his departure from the 
Hall should not be delayed ; and he very shortly with- 
drew. 

Mr Beauchamp began to breathe freely, as it were, 
when the evil spirit, in his tutor's shape, was no longer 
at his elbow, poisoning his principles, and prompting 
him to vice and debauchery. He resolved, forthwith, to 
he all that his tutor had represented him to his mother ; 
and to atone for past indiscretions, by a life of sobriety 
and virtue. All now went on smoothly and happily at 
the Hall. The new squire entered actively on the duties 
devolving upon him, and was engaged daily driving his 
beautiful cousin over his estate, and showing to his ob- 
sequious tenantry their future lady. On what trifling 
accidents do often the great changes of life depend ! — 
Mr Beauchamp, after a three months' continuance in the 
country, was sent for by his solicitor to town, in order 
to complete the final arrangements of his estate ; and 
which, he supposed, would occupy him but a few days. 
That London visit led to his ruin ! It may be recol- 
lected, that the execrable Eccles owed his pupil a grudge 
for the disappointment he had occasioned him, and the 
time and manner of his dismissal. What does the reader 
imagine was the diabolical device he adopted, to bring 
about the utter ruin of his unsuspicious pupil ? Apprized 
of Mr Beauchamp's visit to London, — (Mr Eccles had 
removed to lodgings but a little distance from the Hall, 
and was, of course, acquainted with the leading move- 
ments of the family), — he wrote the following letter to 



MOTHER AND SON. 275 

a Baronet in London, with whom he had been very in- 
timate as a " Plucker" at Oxford — and who having ruin- 
ed himself by his devotion to play — equally in respect 
of fortune and character — was now become little else 
than a downright systematic sharper : — 

" Dear Sir Edward, 

" Young Beauchamp, one of our quondam pigeons 
at Oxford, who has just come of age, will be in London 
next Friday or Saturday, and put up at his old hotel, 

the He will bear plucking. Verb. suf. The 

bird is somewhat shy — but you are a good shot. Don't 
frighten him. He is giving up life, and going to turn 
saint ! The fellow has used me cursedly ill ; he has cut 

me quite, and refused me old Dr 's living. I'll make 

him repent it ! I will by ! 

" Yours ever, most faithfully, 

" Peter Eccles." 
" To Sir Edward Streighton. 

" P.S. If Beauchamp plucks well, you won't press 
ine for the trifle I owe — will you ? Burn this note." 

This infernal letter, which, by a singular concurrence 
of events, got into the hands where / saw it, laid the 
train for such a series of plotting and manoeuvring, as in 
the end ruined poor Beauchamp, and gave Eccles his 
coveted revenge. 

When Beauchamp quitted the Hall, his mother and 
Ellen had the most solemn assurances that his stay in 
town would not be protracted beyond the week. No- 
thing but this could quiet the good old lady's apprehen- 
sions, who expressed an unaccountable conviction that 
some calamity or other was about to assail their house. 
She had had a dreadful dream, she said! but when impor- 



276 MOTHER AND SON. 

tuned to tell it, answered, that if Henry came safe home, 
then she would tell them her dream. In short, his de- 
parture was a scene of tears and gloom, which left an 
impression of sadness on his own mind, that lasted all 
the way up to town. On his arrival, he betook himself 

to his old place, the Hotel, near Piccadilly ; and, 

in order to expedite his business as much as possible, 
appointed the evening of the very day of his arrival for 
a meeting with his solicitor. 

The morning papers duly apprized the world of the 
important fact, that " Henry Beauchamp, Esquire, had 

arrived at 's from his seat in shire ;" and 

scarcely ten minutes after he had read the officious an- 
nunciation at breakfast, his valet brought in the card of 
Sir Edward Streighton. 

" Sir Edward Streighton !" exclaimed Beauchamp, 
with astonishment, laying down the card ; adding, after 
a pause, with a cold and doubtful air, " Show in Sir Ed- 
ward of course." 

In a few moments the Baronet was ushered into the 
room — made up to his old " friend," with great cordiali- 
ty, and expressed a thousand winning civilities. He 
was attired in a style of fashionable negligence ; and his 
2>ale, emaciated features ensured him, at least, the show 
of a welcome, with which he would not otherwise have 
been greeted ; for Beauchamp, though totally ignorant 
of the present pursuits and degraded character of his 
visitor, had seen enough of him in the heyday of dissi- 
pation, to avoid a renewal of their intimacy. Beauchamp 
was touched' with the air of languor and exhaustion 
assumed by Sir Edward, and asked kindly after his 
health. 



MOTHER AND SON. 277 

The wily Baronet contrived to keep him occupied 
with that topic for nearly an hour, till he fancied he had 
established an interest for himself in his destined vic- 
tim's heart. He told him, with a languid smile, that the 
moment he saw Beauchamp's arrival in the papers, he 
had hurried, ill as he was, to pay a visit to his " old 
chum," and " talk over old times." In short, after lay- 
ing out all his powers of conversation, he so interested 
and delighted his quondam associate, that he extorted 
a reluctant promise from Beauchamp to dine with him 
the next evening, on the plausible pretext of his being 
in too delicate health to venture out himself at night- 
time. Sir Edward departed, apparently in a low mood, 
but really exulting in the success with which he consi- 
dered he had opened his infernal campaign. He hur- 
ried to the house of one of his comrades in guilt, whom 
he invited to dinner on the morrow. Now, the fiendish 
object of this man, Sir Edward Streighton, in asking 
Beauchamp to dinner, was to revive in his bosom the 
half-extinguished embers of his love for play ! There 
are documents now in existence to show that Sir Ed- 
ward and his companions had made the most exact cal- 
culations of poor Beauchamp's property, and even ar- 
ranged the proportions in which the expected spoils 
were to be shared among the complotters ! The whole 
conduct of the affair was intrusted, at his own instance, 
to Sir Edward ; who, with a smile, declared that he 
" knew all the crooks and crannies of young Beauchamp's 
heart ;" and that he had already settled his scheme of 
operations. He was himself to keep for some time in 
the back ground, and on no occasion to come forward till 
he was sure of his prey. 



278 MOTHER AND SON. 

At the appointed hour, Beauchamp, though not with- 
out having experienced some misgivings in the course of 
the day, found himself seated at the elegant and luxuri- 
ous table of Sir Edward, in company with two of the 
Baronet's " choicest spirits." It would be superfluous 
to pause over the exquisite wines, and luscious cookery, 
which were placed in requisition for the occasion, or the 
various piquant and brilliant conversation that flashed 
around the table. Sir Edward was a man of talent and 
observation ; and foul as were the scenes in which he had 
latterly passed his life, was full of rapid and brilliant re- 
partee, and piquant sketches of men and manners, with- 
out end. Like the poor animal whose palate is for a 
moment tickled with the bait alluring it to destruction, 
Beauchamp was in ecstasies ! There was, besides, such 
a flattering deference paid to every thing that fell from his 
lips — so much eager curiosity excited by the accounts 
he gave of one or two of his foreign adventures — such 
an interest taken in the arrangements he contemplated 

for augmenting his estates in shire, &c. &c, that 

Beauchamp never felt better pleased with himself, nor 
with his companions. About eleven o'clock, one of Sir 
Edward's friends proposed a rubber at whist, " thinking 
they had all of them talked one another hoarse," but Sir 
Edward promptly negatived it. The proposer insisted, 
but Sir Edward coldly repeated his refusal. " /am not 
tired of my friends' conversation, though they may be 
of mine ! And I fancy, Beauchamp," he continued, 
shaking his head with a serious air, " you and I have 
burnt our fingers too often at college, to be desirous of 
renewing our pranks." 

" Why, good God, Sir Edward !" rejoined the pro- 



MOTHER AND SON. 279 

poser, " what do you mean ? Are you insinuating that 
I am fond of deep play ? — 7, I that have been such a 
sufferer ?" How was it that such shallow trickery could 
not be seen through by a man who knew any thing of 
the world ? The answer is obvious — the victim's pene- 
tration had deserted him : Flattery and wine — what will 
they not lead a man to ? In short, the farce was so well 
kept up, that Beauchamp, fancying he alone stood in the 
way of the evening's amusements, felt himself called up- 
on to " beg they would not consult him, if they were 
disposed for a rubber : as he would make a hand with 
the greatest pleasure imaginable." The proposer and 
his friend looked appealingly to Sir Edward. 

" Oh ! God forbid that I should hinder you, since 
you're all so disposed," said the Baronet, with a polite 
air ; and in a few minutes the four friends were seated 
at the whist table. Sir Edioard ivas obliged to send out 
and buy. or borrow cards ! " He really so seldom," &c. 
" especially in his poor health," &c. ! There was nothing 
whatever, in the conduct of the game, calculated to 
arouse a spark of suspicion. The three confederates 
acted their parts to admiration, and maintained through- 
out the matter-of-fact, listless air, of men who have sat 
down to cards, each out of complaisance to the others. 
At the end of the second rubber, which was a long one, 
they paused a while, rose, and betook themselves to re- 
freshments. 

" By the way, Apsley," said Sir Edward, suddenly, 
" have you heard how fhat extraordinary affair of Gene- 
ral 's terminated ?" 

" Decided against him," was the reply ; " but I think 
wrongly. At 's," naming a celebrated coterie. 



280 MOTHER AND SON. 

" where the affair was ultimately canvassed, they were 
equally divided in opinion ; and on the strength of it 
the General swears he won't pay." 

" It is certainly one of the most singular things in 
the world !" 

" Pray, what might the disputed point be ?" inquired 
Beauchamp, sipping a glass of liqueur. 

" Oh, merely a bit of town tittle-tattle," replied Sir 
Edward, carelessly, " about a Rouge et Noir bet be- 
tween Lord and General — — , I dare say, you 

would feel no interest in it whatever." 

But Beauchamp did feel interested enough to press 
his host for an account of the matter ; and he presently 
found himself listening to a story told most graphically 
by Sir Edward, and artfully calculated to interest and 
inflame the passions of his hearer. Beauchamp drank in 
eagerly every word. He could not help identifying 
himself with the parties spoken of. A Satanic smile 
flickered occasionally over the countenances of the con- 
spirators, as they beheld these unequivocal indications 
that their prey was entering their toils. Sir Edward re- 
presented the hinge of the story to be a moot point at 
Rouge at Noir : and when he had concluded, an ani- 
mated discussion arose. Beauchamp took an active part 
in the dispute, siding with Mr Apsley. Sir Edward got 
flustered ! and began to express himself rat her heatedly. 
Beauchamp also felt himself kindling, and involuntarily 
cooled his ardour with glass after glass of the wine that 
stood before him. At length, out leaped a bold bet 
from Beauchamp, that he would make the same point 

with General . Sir Edward shrugged his shoulders, 

and, with a smile, " decli ned winning his money," on a 



MOTHER AND SON. 281 

point clear as the noonday sun ! Mr Hillier, however, 
who was of Sir Edward's opinion, instantly took Beau- 
champ ; and, for the symmetry of the thing, Apsley and 
Sir Edward, in spite of the latter's protestation to Beau- 
champ, betted highly on their respective opinions. 
Somebody suggested an adjournment to the " establish- 
ment" at Street, where they might decide the 

question ; and thither, accordingly, after great show of 
reluctance on the part of Sir Edward, they all four re- 
paired. 

The reader need not fear that I am going to dilate 
upon the sickening horrors of a modern " Hell !" for in- 
to such a place did Beauchamp find himself introduced. 
The infernal splendour of the scene by which he was 
surrounded, smote his soul with a sense of guilty awe 
the moment he entered, flushed though he was, and un- 
steady, with wine. A spectral recollection of his mo- 
ther and Ellen, wreathed with the haloes of virtue and 
purity, glanced across his mind ; and for a moment he 
thought himself really in hell ! Sick and faint, he sat 
down for a few seconds at an unoccupied table. He 
felt half determined to rush out from the room. His 
kind friends perceived his agitation. Sir Edward asked 
him if he were ill ? But Beauchamp, with a sickly smile, 
referred his sensations to a heated room, and the un- 
usual quantity of wine he had drunk. Half ashamed of 
himself, and dreading their banter, he presently rose 
from his seat, and declared himself recovered. After 
standing some time beside the Rouge et Noir table, 
where tremendous stakes were playing for, amidst pro- 
found and agitating silence — where he marked the sal- 
low features of General and Lord , the parties ' 



282 MOTHER AND SON. 

implicated in the affair mentioned at Sir Edward's table, 
and who, having arranged their dispute, were now over 
head and ears in a new transaction — the four friends 
withdrew to one of the private tables to talk over their 
bet. Alas ! half-an-hour's time beheld them all at Ha- 
zard ! — Beauchamp playing ! and with excitement and 
enthusiasm equalling any one's in the room. Sir Edward 
maintained the negligent and reluctant air of a man 
overpersuaded into acquiescence in the wishes of his 
companions. Every time that Beauchamp shook the 
fatal dice-box, the pale face of his mother looked at him ; 
yet still he shook, and still he threw — for he won freely 
from Apsley and Hillier. About four o'clock he took 
his departure, with bank-notes in his pocket-book to the 
amount of £95, as his evening's winning. 

He walked home to his hotel, weary and depressed in 
spirits, ashamed and enraged at his own weak compli- 
ances and irresolution. The thought suddenly struck him, 
however, that he would make amends for his miscon- 
duct, by appropriating the whole of his unhallowed gains 
to the purchase of jewellery for his mother and cousin. 
Relieved by this consideration, he threw himself on his 
bed, and slept, though uneasily, till a late hour in the 
morning. His first thought on waking was the last that 
had occupied his mind over-night ; but it was in a mo- 
ment met by another and more startling reflection, — 
What would Sir Edward, Hillier, and Apsley think of 
him, dragging them to play, and winning their money, 
without giving them an opportunity of retrieving their 
losses ! The more he thought of it, the more was he 
embarrassed ; and, as he tossed about on his bed, the 
suspicion flashed across his disturbed mind, that he was 



MOTHER AND SON. 283 

embroiled with gamblers. With what credit could he 
skulk from the attack he had himself provoked ? Per- 
plexed and agitated with the dilemma he had drawn up- 
on himself, he came to the conclusion, that, at all events, 
he must invite the Baronet and his friends to dinner that 
day, and give them their revenge, when he might re- 
treat with honour, and for ever. Every one who reads 
these pages will anticipate the event. 

Gaming is a magical stream ; if you do but wade far 
enough into it, to wet the soles of your feet, there is an 
influence in the waters, which draws you irresistibly in, 
deeper and deeper, till you are sucked into the roaring 
vortex, and perish. If it were not unduly paradoxical, 
one might say with respect to gaming, that he has come 
to the end, who has made a beginning ! 

Mr Beauchamp postponed the business which he had 
himself fixed for transaction that evening, and received 
Sir Edward — who had found out that he could now ven- 
ture from home at nights — and his two friends, with all 
appearance of cheerfulness and cordiality. In his heart 
he felt ill at ease ; but his uneasiness vanished with every 
glass of wine he drank. His guests were all men of con- 
versation ; and they took care to select the most inte- 
resting topics. Beauchamp was delighted. Some slight 
laughing allusions were made by Hillier and Apsley to 
their overnight's adventure ; but Sir Edward coldly cha- 
racterised it as an " absurd affair," and told them they 
deserved to suffer as they did. This was exactly the 
signal for which Beauchamp had long been waiting ; and 
he proposed in a moment that cards and dice should be 
brought in to finish the evening with. Hillier and Apsley 
hesitated : Sir Edward looked at his watch, and talked 



284 MOTHER AND SON. 

of the opera. Beauchamp, however, was peremptory, 
and down they all sat — and to Hazard ! Beauchamp 
was fixedly determined to lose that evening a hundred 
pounds, inclusive of his overnight's winnings ; and veiled 
his purpose so flimsily, that his opponents saw in a mo- 
ment " what he was after." Mr Apsley laid down the 
dice-box with a haughty air, and said, " Mr Beauchamp, 
I do not understand you, sir. You are playing neither 
with boys nor swindlers : and be pleased, besides, to re- 
collect at whose instance we sat down to this evening's 
Hazard." 

Mr Beauchamp laughed it off, and protested he did 
his best. Apsley, apparently satisfied, resumed his play, 
and their victim felt himself in their meshes — that the 
" snare of the fowler was upon him." They played with 
various success for about two hours ; and Sir Edward 
was listlessly intimating his intention to have a throw 
for the first time, " for company's sake," when a card of 
a young nobleman, one of the most profligate of the pro- 
fligate set whom Beauchamp had known at Oxford, was 
brought in. 

" Ah ! Lord !" exclaimed Sir Edward, with joy- 
ful surprise, " an age since I saw him ! — How very 
strange — how fortunate that I should happen to be here ! 
— Oh, come, Beauchamp," — seeing his host disposed to 
utter a frigid " not at home," — " come, must ask him in ! 

The very best fellow in life !" Now Lord and Sir 

Edward were bosom friends, equally unprincipled, and 
that very morning had they arranged this most unex- 
pected visit of his Lordship ! As soon as the ably sus- 
tained excitement and enthusiasm of his Lordship had 
subsided, he of course assured them that he should leave 



MOTHER AND SON. 285 

immediately, unless they proceeded with their play, and 
he stationed himself as an onlooker beside Beauchamp. 
The infernal crew now began to see they had it " all 
their own way." Their tactics might have been finally 
frustrated, had Beauchamp but possessed sufficient mo- 
ral courage to yield to the loud promptings of his better 
judgment, and firmly determined to stop in time. Alas ! 
however, he had taken into his bosom the torpid snake, 
and kept it there till it revived. In the warmth of ex- 
citement he forgot his fears, and his decaying propensi- 
ties to play were rapidly resuscitated. Before the even- 
ing's close he had entered into the spirit of the game 
with as keen a relish as a professed gamester ! With 
a sort of frenzy, he proposed bets, which the cautious 
Baronet and his coadjutors hesitated, and at last refused, 
to take ! About three o'clock they separated, and, on 
making up accounts, they found that so equally had 
profit and loss been shared, that no one had lost or gained 
more than £20. Beauchamp accepted a seat in Lord 

's box at the opera for the next evening ; and the 

one following that he engaged to dine with Apsley. 
After his guests had retired, he betook himself to bed, 
with comparatively none of those heart smitings which 
had kept him sleepless the night before. The men with 
whom he had been playing were evidently no professional 
gamblers, and he felt himself safe in their hands. 

To the opera, pursuant to promise, he went, and to 
Apsley 's. At the former he recognised several of his col- 
lege acquaintance ; and at the latter's house he spent a 
delightful evening, never having said better things, and 
never being more flatteringly attended to ; and the 
night's social enjoyment was wound up with a friendly 



286 MOTHER AND SON. 

rubber for stakes laughably small. This was Sir Ed- 
ward's scheme, for he was not, it will be recollected, to 
"frighten the bird." The doomed Beauchamp retired 
to rest, better satisfied with himself and his friends than 
ever ; for he had transacted a little real business during 
the day ; written two letters to the country, and de- 
spatched them, with a pair of magnificent bracelets to 
Ellen ; played the whole evening at unpretending whist, 
and Avon two guineas, instead of accompanying Lord 

and Hillier to the establishment in Street, 

where he mighth&ve lost hundreds. A worthy old Eng- 
lish Bishop says, " The devil then maketh sure of us, 
when we do make sure of ourselves," — a wise maxim ! 
Poor Beauchamp now began to feel confidence in his own 
strength of purpose. He thought he had been weighed 
in the balance, and not found wanting. He was as deep- 
ly convinced as ever of the pernicious effects of an inor- 
dinate love of play : but had he that passion ? No ! He 
recollected the healthful thrill of horror and disgust with 
which he listened to Lord 's entreaties to accom- 
pany him to the gaming-house, and was satisfied. He 
took an early opportunity of writing home, to apprize his 
mother and cousin that he intended to continue in town 
a month or six weeks, and assigned satisfactory reasons 
for his protracted stay. He wrote in the warmest terms 
to both of them, and said he should be counting the days 
till he threw himself into their arms. " 'Tis this tire- 
same Twister, our attorney, that must answer for my 
long stay. There is no quickening his phlegmatic dis- 
position ! When I would hurry and press him, he shrugs 
his shoulders, and says there's no doing law by steam. 
He says he fears the Chancery affairs will prove very 



MOTHER AND SON. 287 

tedious ; and they are in such a state just now, that, were 
I to return into the country, I should be summoned up 
to town again in a twinkling. Now I am here, I will 
get all this business fairly off my hands. So, by this day 
six weeks, dearest coz, expect to see at your feet, yours 
eternally,— H. B." 

But, alas! that day saw Beauchamp in a new and start- 
ling character— that of an infatuated gamester ! — Du- 
ring that fatal six weeks, he had lost several thousand 
pounds, and had utterly neglected the business which 
brought him up to town, — for his whole heart was with 
French Hazard and Rouge et Noir ! Even his outward 
appearance had undergone a strange alteration. His 
cheeks and forehead wore the sallow hue of dissipation 
— his eyes were weak and bloodshot — his hands trem- 
bled — and every movement indicated the highest degree 
of nervous irritability. He had become vexed and out 
of temper with all about him, but especially with him- 
self, and never could " bring himself up to par" till se- 
ven or eight o'clock in the evening, at dinner, when he 
was warming with wine. The first thing in the morn- 
ings, also, he felt it necessary to fortify himself against 
the agitations of the day, by a smart draught of brandy 
or liqueur ! If the mere love of temporary excitement 
had been sufficient, in the first instance, to allure him on to 
play, the desire for retrieving his losses now supplied a 
stronger motive for persevering in his dangerous and 
destructive career. Ten thousand pounds, the lowest 
amount of his losses, was a sum he could not afford to 
lose, without very serious inconvenience. Gracious God! 
— what would his aged mother — what would Ellen say, 
if they knew the mode and amount of his losses ? The 



288 MOTHER AND SON. 

thought distracted him ! He had drawn out of his bank- 
er's hands all the floating balance he had placed there on 
arriving in town ; and, in short, he had been at last com- 
pelled to mortgage one of his favourite estates for 
£ 8000 ; — and how to conceal the transaction from his 
mother, without making desperate and successful efforts 
to recover himself at play, he did not know. He had 
now got inextricably involved with Sir Edward and his 
set, who never allowed him a moment's time to come to 
himself, but were ever ready with diversified sources of 
amusement. Under their damned tutelage, Beauchamp 
commenced the systematic life of a " man about town," 
— in all except the fouler and grosser vices, to which, I 
believe, he was never addicted. 

His money flew about in all directions. He never 
went to the establishment in Street, but his over- 
night's I.O.U.'s stared him in the face the next morn- 
ing like reproachful fiends ! — and he was daily accumu- 
lating bills at the fashionable tradesmen's, whom he gave 
higher prices, to ensure longer credit. While he was 
compelled to write down confidentially to old Pritchard, 
his agent, for money, almost every third or fourth post, 
his correspondence with his mother and cousin gradu- 
ally slackened, and his letters, short as they were, indi- 
cated effort and constraint on the part of the writer. It 
was long, very long, before Mrs Beauchamp suspected 
that any thing was going wrong. She was completely 
cajoled by her son's accounts of the complicated and ha- 
rassing affairs in Chancery, and considered that circum- 
stance fully to account for the brevity and infrequency 
of his letters. The quicker eyes of Ellen, however, soon 
saw, in the chilling shortness and formality of his let- 



MOTHER AND SON. 289 

ters to her, that even if his regard for her personally were 
not diminishing, he had discovered such pleasurable ob- 
jects in town, as enabled him to bear, with great forti- 
tude, the pangs of absence ! 

Gaming exerts a deadening influence upon all the fa- 
culties of the soul, that are not immediately occupied in 
its dreadful service. The heart it utterly withers ; and 
it was not long, therefore, before Beauchamp was fully 
aware of the altered state of his feelings towards his cou- 
sin, and satisfied with them. Play — play — PLAY, was 
the name of his new and tyrannical mistress ! Need I 
utter such common-places as to say, that the more Beau- 
champ played, the more he lost ; that the more he lost, 
the deeper he played ; and that the less chance there 
was, the more reckless he became ? — I cannot dwell on 
this dreary portion of my narrative. It is sufficient to 
inform the reader, that, employed in the way I have 
mentioned, Beauchamp protracted his stay in London 
to five months. During this time he had actually gam- 
bled away three-fourths of his whole fortune. He 
was now both ashamed and afraid of returning home. 
Letters from his poor mother and Ellen accumulated 
upon him, and often lay for weeks unanswered. Mrs 
Beauchamp had once remonstrated with him on his al- 
lowing any of his affairs to keep him so long in town 
under the peculiar circumstances in which he was 
placed with respect to Ellen ; but she received such a tart 
reply from her son, as effectually prevented her future 
interference. She began to grow very uneasy — and to 
suspect that something or other unfortunate had hap- 
pened to her son. Her fears hurried her into a disre- 
gard of his menaces ; and at length she wrote up pri- 

VOL. II. T 



290 MOTHER AND SON. 

vately to Mr Twister, to know what was the state of af- 
fairs, and what kept Mr Beauchamp so harassingly em- 
ployed. The poor old lady received for answer — that 
the attorney knew of nothing that need have detained 
Mr Beauchamp in town beyond a week ; and that he had 
not been to Mr Twister's office for several months ! 

Pritchard, Mr Beauchamp's agent, was a quiet and 
faithful fellow, and managed all his master's concerns 
with the utmost punctuality and secrecy. He had been 
elevated from the rank of a common servant in the fa- 
mily to his present office, which he had filled for thirty 
years, with unspotted credit. He had been a great fa- 
vourite with old Mr Beauchamp, who committed him to 
the kindness of Mrs Beauchamp, and requested her to 
continue him in his office till his son arrived at his ma- 
jority. The good old man was therefore thoroughly 
identified with the family interests ; and it was natural 
that he should feel both disquietude and alarm at the de- 
mands for money, unprecedented in respect of amount 
and frequency, made by Mr Beauchamp during his stay 
in town. He was kept in profound darkness as to the 
destination of the money ; and confounded at having to 
forward up to London the title-deeds and papers relat- 
ing to most of the property. " What can my young 
squire be driving at ?" said Pritchard to himself ; and as 
he cquld devise no satisfactory answer, he began to fume 
and fret, and to indulge in melancholy speculations. He 
surmised that " all was not going on right at London," 
for he was too much a man of business to be cajoled bythe 
flimsy reasons assigned by Mr Beauchamp for requiring 
the estate papers. He began to suspect that his young 
master was " taking to bad courses ;" but being enjoin- 



MOTHER AND SON. 291 

ed silence at his peril, he held his tongue, and, shrug- 
ging his shoulders, " hoped the best." He longed every 
day to make, or find, an opportunity for communicating 
with his old mistress ; yet how could he break his mas- 
ter's confidence, and risk the threatened penalty ! — He 
received, however, a letter one morning which decided 
him. The fearful contents were as follows : — 

" Dear and faithful old Pritchard, — There are now 
only two ways in which you can show your regard for 
me — profound secrecy, and immediate attention to my 
directions. I have been engaged for some time in ex- 
tensive speculations in London, and have been dreadful- 
ly unfortunate. I must have fifteen, or, at the very low- 
est, ten thousand pounds, by this day week, or be ruin- 
ed ; and I purpose raising that sum by a mortgage on 
my property in shire. I can see no other pos- 
sible way of meeting my engagements, without compro- 
mising the character of our family — the honour of my 
name. Let me, therefore, have all the needful papers in 
time, in two days' time at the latest — Dear old man ! — 
for the love of God, and the respect you bear my father's 
memory, keep all this to yourself, or consequences may 
follow, which I tremble to think of! I am, &c. &c. 
" Henry Beauchamp." 

" Hotel, 4 o'clock, a. m." 

This letter was written with evident hurry and tre- 
pidation ; but not with more than its perusal occasioned 
the affrighted steward. He dropped it from his hands, 
elevated them and his eyes towards heaven, and turned 
deadly pale. He trembled from head to foot ; and the 
only words he uttered were in a low moaning tone, " Oh, 
my poor old master ! Wouldn't it raise your bones out 



292 MOTHER AND SON. 

of the grave ?" — Could he any longer delay telling his 
mistress of the dreadful pass things were come to ? 

After an hour or two spent in terror and tears, he re- 
solved, come what might, to set off for the Hall, seek an 
interview with Mrs Beauchamp, and disclose every thing. 
He had scarcely got half way, when he was met by one 
of the Hall servants who stopped him, saying — " Oh, 
Mr Steward, I was coming down for you. Mistress is 
in a way this morning, and wants to see you directly." 

The old man hardly heard him out, and hurried on 
as fast as possible to the Hall, which was pervaded with 
an air of excitement and suspense. He was instantly 
conducted into Mrs Beauchamp's private room. The 
good old lady sat in her easy-chair, her pallid features 
full of grief, and her gray locks straying in disorder from 
under the border of her cap. Every limb was in a tre- 
mor. On one side of her sat Ellen, in the same agitated 
condition as her aunt ; and on the other stood a table, 
with brandy, hartshorn, &c, and an open letter. 

" Be seated, Pritchard," said the old lady, faintly. 
The steward placed his chair beside the table. " Why, 
what is the matter with you, Pritchard ?" inquired Miss 
Beauchamp, startled by the agitation and fright mani- 
fested in the steward's countenance. He drew his hand 
across his forehead, and stammered that he was grieved 
to see them in such trouble, when he was interrupted 
by Mrs Beauchamp putting the open letter into his hand, 
and telling him to read it. The steward could scarcely 
adjust his glasses ; for he trembled like an aspen leaf. 
He read — 
" Madam, 

" My client, Lady Hester Gripe ( having consented to 



MOTHER AND SON. 293 

advance a. farther sum of £22,000 to Mr Henry Beau- 
champ, your son, on mortgage of his estates in shire, 

I beg to know whether you have any annuity or rent- 
charge issuing therefrom, and if so, to what amount. I 
beg you will consider this inquiry strictly confidential, 
as between Lady Hester and Mr Beauchamp, or the ne- 
gotiations will be broken off; for her ladyship's extreme 
caution has induced me to break through my promise 
to Mr Beauchamp, of not allowing you, or any one else, 
to know of the transaction. As, however, Mr Beau- 
champ said, that even if you did know, it was not of much 
consequence, I presume I have not gone very far wrong 
in yielding to her ladyship's importunities. May I beg 
the favour of a reply, per return of post. I have the 
honour, &c. &c. &c. 

" FurnivaPs Inn, London." 

Before the staggered steward had got through half this 
letter, he was obliged to lay it down for a moment or 
two, to recover from his trepidation. 

" A farther sum !" he muttered. He wiped the cold 
perspiration from his forehead, dashed out the tears from 
his half-blinded eyes, and resumed his perusal of the let- 
ter, which shook in his hands. No one spoke a syllable ; 
and when he had finished reading, he laid down the let- 
ter in silence. Mrs Beauchamp sat leaning back in her 
chair, with her eyes closed. She murmured something, 
which the straining ear of the steward could not catch. 

" What was my lady saying, Miss ?" he inquired. 
Miss Beauchamp shook her head, without speaking or 
removing her handkerchief from her face. 

" Well, God's holy will be done !" exclaimed Mrs 
Beauchamp, feebly, tasting a little brandy and water ; 



•294 



MOTHER AND SON. 



" but I'm afraid my poor Henry — and all of us — are 
ruined !" 

" God grant not, my lady ! Oh, don't — don't say 
so, my lady !" sobbed the steward, dropping involun- 
tarily upon his knees, and elevating his clasped hands 
upwards — " Tis true, my lady," he continued, " Mas- 
ter Henry — for I can't help calling him so — has been a 
little wild in London — but all is not yet gone — oh, no, 
my lady, no !" 

" You must, of course, have known all along of his 
doings — you must, Pritchard !" said Mrs Beauchamp, in 
a low tone. 

" Why yes, my lady, I have — but I've gone down on 
my knees every blessed night, and prayed that I might 
find a way of letting you know" 

" Why could you not have told me ?" inquired Mrs 
Beauchamp, looking keenly at the steward. 

" Because, my lady, I was his steward, and bound to 
keep his confidence. He would have discharged me the 
moment I had opened my lips : he told me so often !" 

Mrs Beauchamp made no reply. She saw the worthy 
man's dilemma, and doubted not his integrity, though 
she had entertained momentarily a suspicion of his guilty 
acquiescence. 

" Have you ever heard, Pritchard, how the money 
has gone in London ?" 

" Never a breath, my lady, that I could rely on." 

" What have you heard? — That he frequents gaming- 
houses ?" inquired Mrs Beauchamp, her features whiten- 
ing as she went on. The steward shook his head. There 
was another mournful pause. 

" Now, Pritchard," said Mrs Beauchamp, with an ef- 



MOTHER AND SON. 295 

fort to muster up all her calmness — " tell me, as in the 
sight of God, how much money has my son made away 
with since he left ?" 

The steward paused and hesitated. 

" I must not be trifled with, Pritchard," continued 
Mrs Beauchamp, solemnly, and with increasing agita- 
tion. The steward seemed calculating a moment. 

" Why, my lady, if I must be plain, I'm afraid that 
twenty thousand pounds would not cover" 

" Twenty thousand pounds!" screamed Miss Beau- 
champ, springing out of her chair wildly ; but her atten- 
tion was in an instant absorbed by her aunt, who, on 
hearing the sum named by the steward, after moving her 
fingers for a moment or two, as if she were trying to speak, 
suddenly fell back in her seat, and swooned. 

To describe the scenes of consternation and despair 
which ensued, would be impossible. Mrs Beauchamp's 
feelings were several times urging her on the very bor- 
ders of madness ; and Miss Beauchamp looked the image 
of speechless, breathless horror. At length, however, 
Mrs Beauchamp succeeded in overcoming her feelings 
— for she was a woman of unusual strength of mind — 
and instantly addressed herself to meet the naked hor- 
rors of the case, and see if it were possible to discover 
or apply a remedy. After a day's anxious thought, and 
the show of a consultation with her distracted niece, she 
decided on the line of operation she intended to pursue. 

To return, however, to her son : Things went on as 
might be supposed from the situation in which we left 
him, worse and worse. Poor Beauchamp's life might 
justly be said to be a perpetual frenzy — passed in alter- 
nate paroxysms of remorse, despair, rage, fear, and all 



296 MOTHER AND SON. 

the other baleful passions that can tear and distract the 
human soul. He had become stupified, and could not 
fully comprehend the enormous ruin which he had pre- 
cipitated upon himself — crushing at once " mind, body, 
and estate." His motions seemed actuated by a species 
of diabolical influence. He saw the nest of hornets which 
he had lit upon, yet would not forsake the spot! Alas! 
Beauchamp was not the first who has felt the fatal fas- 
cination of play, the utter obliviousness of consequences 
which it induces ! The demons who fluttered about 
him, no longer thought of masking themselves, but stood 
boldly in all their naked hideousness before him. For 
weeks together he had one continual run of bad luck, yet 
still he lived and gambled on from week to week, from 
day to day, from hour to hour, in the delusive hope of 
recovering himself. His heart was paralysed — its feel- 
ings all smothered beneath the perpetual pressure of a 
gamester's anxieties. It is not, therefore, difficult for the 
reader to conceive the ease with which he dismissed the 
less and less frequently intruding images — the pale, re- 
proachful faces — of his mother and cousin ! 

Sir Edward Streighton, the most consummate tacti- 
cian, sure, that ever breathed, had won thousands from 
Beauchamp, without affording him a tangible opportunity 
of breaking with him. On the contrary, the more Beau- 
champ became involved — the deeper he sank into the 
whirlpool of destruction — the closer he clung to Sir Ed- 
Avard ; as if clinging to the devil in hell, would save one 
from its fires ! The wily Baronet had contrived to make 
himself, in a manner, indispensable to Beauchamp. It 
was Sir Edward, who taught him the quickest way of 
turning lands into cash — Sir Edward, who familiarized 



MOTHER AND SON. 297 

him with the correctest principles of betting and hand- 
ling the dice — Sir Edward, who put him in the way of 
evading and defying his minor creditors — Sir Edward, 
who feasted and feted him out of his bitter ennui and 
thoughts of shire — Sir Edward, who lent him hun- 
dreds at a moment's warning, and gave him the longest 
credit ! 

Is it really conceivable that Beauchamp could not see 
through the plausible scoundrel ? inquires, perhaps, a 
reader. No, he did not — till the plot began to develope 
itself in the latter acts of the tragedy ! And even when 
he did, he still went on — and on— and on — trusting that 
in time he should outwit the subtle devil. Though he 
was a little shocked at finding himself so easily capable 
of such a thing, he resolved at last, in the forlorn hope 
of retrieving his circumstances, to meet fraud ivith fraud. 
A delusion not uncommon among the desperate victims 
of gambling, is the notion that they have suddenly hit 
. on some trick by which they must infallibly win. This 
is the ignis fatuus which often lights them to the fatal 
verge. Such a crotchet had latterly been flitting through 
the fancy of Beauchamp ; and one night — or rather 
morning — after revolving the scheme over and over again 
in his racked brain, he started out of bed, struck a light, 
seized a pack of cards, and, shivering with cold — for it 
was winter — sat calculating and manoeuvring with them 
till he had satisfied himself of the accuracy of his plan ; 
when he threw them down, blew out his candle, and leap- 
ed into bed again in a fit of guilty ecstasy. The more 
he turned the project in his mind, the more and more 
feasible did it appear. He resolved to intrust no one 
breathing with his secret. Confident of success, and 



298 MOTHER AND SON. 

that with but little effort he had it in his power to break 
the bank, whenever, and as often as he pleased — he de- 
termined to put his plan into execution in a day or two, 
on a large scale ; stake every penny he could possibly 
scrape together, and win triumphantly. He instantly set 
about procuring the requisite funds. His attorney — a 
gambler himself, whom he had latterly picked up, at the 
instance of Hillier, as " a monstrously convenient fel- 
low," — soon contrived to cash his I.O.U.'s to the amount 
of £5000, on discovering that he had still available pro- 
perty in shire, which he learned at a confidential 

interview with the solicitor in Furnival's Inn, who was 
negotiating the loan of £ 22,000 from Lady Gripe *. 
He returned to make the hazardous experiment on the 
evening of the day on which he received the £ 5000 from 
his attorney. On the morning of that day he was, far- 
ther, to hear from his steward in the country respecting 
the mortgage of his last and best property. 

That was a memorable — a terrible day to Beauchamp. 
It began with doubt — suspense — disappointment ; for, 
after awaiting the call of the postman, shaking with agi- 
tation, he caught a glimpse of his red jacket passing by 
his door — on the other side of the street. Almost fran- 
tic, he threw up the window, and called out to him — but 
the man had " none to-day." Beauchamp threw himself 
on his sofa, in agony unutterable. It was the first time 
that old Pritchard had ever neglected to return an an- 

* It is my intention, on a future occasion, to publish some account 
of the extraordinary means by which this old woman amassed a splendid 
fortune. She was an inveterate swindler at cards; and so successful, 
that, from her gains at ordinary play, she drew a capital with which 
she traded in the manner mentioned above. 



MOTHER AND SON. 299 

swer in course of post, when never so slightly request- 
ed. A thousand fears assailed him. Had his letter mis- 
carried ? Was Pritchard ill, dying — or dead ? Had he 
been frightened into a disclosure to Mrs Beauchamp ? 
And did his Mother, at length — did Ellen — know of 
his dreadful doings ? The thought was too frightful to 
dwell upon ! — thoroughly unnerved, he flew to brandy 
— fiery fiend, lighting up in the brain the flames of mad- 
ness ! — He scarcely knew how to rest during the inter- 
val between breakfast and dinner ; — for at seven o'clock, 
he, together with the rest of the infernal crew, were to 
dine with Apsley. There was to be a strong muster ; 
for one of the decoys had entrapped a wealthy simple- 
ton, who was to make his " first appearance" that even- 
ing. After walking for an hour, to and fro, he set out 
to call upon me. He was at my house by twelve o'clock. 
During his stay in town, I had frequently received him 
in quality of a patient, for trifling fits of indisposition, 
and low spirits. I had looked upon him merely as a 
fashionable young fellow, who was " upon town, " do- 
ing his best to earn a little notoriety, such as was sought 
after by most young men of spirit — and fortune ! I 
also had been able to gather from what he let fall at 
several interviews, that the uneven spirits he enjoyed, 
were owing to his gambling propensities : that his ex- 
citement or depression alternated with the good or ill 
luck he had at play. I felt interest in him ; for there 
was about him an air of ingenuousness and straight-for- 
wardness, which captivated every one who spoke with 
him. His manners had all the ease and blandness of 
the finished gentleman ; and when last I saw him, which 
was about two months before, he appeared in good 
4 



300 MOTHER AND SON. 

health and cheerful spirits — a very fine, if not strictly 
handsome man. But now when he stood before me, 
wasted in person, and haggard in feature — full of irrita- 
bility and petulance— I could scarcely believe him the 
same man ! — I was going to ask him some question or 
other, when he hastily interrupted me, by extending to- 
wards me his two hands, which shook almost like those 
of a man in the palsy, exclaiming — " This — this, Doc- 
tor, is what I have come about. Can you cure this 
— by six o'clock to-day ?" There was a wildness in his 
manner, which led me to suspect that his intellect was 
disordered. He hurried on before I had time to get in 
a word — " If you cannot steady my nerves for a few 

hours, I am" he suddenly paused, and with some 

confusion, repeated his question. The extravagant im- 
petuosity of his gestures, and his whole demeanour, 
alarmed me. 

" Mr Beauchamp," said I, seriously, " it is now two 
months since you honoured me with a visit ; and your 
appearance since then is wofully changed. Permit me, 
as a respectful friend, to ask whether" He rose ab- 
ruptly from his seat, and in a tone bordering on insult, 

replied, " Dr , I came, not to gratify curiosity, but 

to receive your advice on the state of my health. If 
you are not disposed to afford it me, I am intruding." 

" You mistake me, Mr Beauchamp," I replied, calmly, 
" motives and all. I do not wish to pry into your af- 
fairs. I desired only to ascertain whether or not your 
mind was at ease." While I was speaking, he seemed 
boiling over with suppressed irritability ; and when I 
had done, he took his hat and stick, flung a guinea on 
my desk : and, before I could recover from the astonish- 



MOTHER AND SON. 301 

ment his extraordinary behaviour occasioned me, strode 
out of the room. 

How he contrived to pass the day he never knew ; 
but about five o'clock, he retired to his dressing-room, 
to prepare for dinner *. His agitation had reached such 
a height, that after several ineffectual attempts to shave 
himself, he was compelled to send for some one to per- 
form that operation for him. When the duties of the 
dressing-room were completed, he returned to his sitting- 
room, took from his escrutoire the doomed bank notes 
for L.5000, and placed them in his pocket-book. A 
dense film floated before his eyes, when he attempted to 
look over the respective amounts of the bills, to see that 
all was correct. He then seized a pack of cards, and 
tried over and over again, to test the accuracy of his 
calculations. He laid them aside, when he had satisfied 
himself — locked his door, opened his desk, and took out 
pen and paper. He then with his penknife pricked the 
point of one of his fingers, filled his pen with the blood 
issuing from it, and wrote in letters of blood a solemn 
oath, that if he were but successful that evening, in 
" winning back his own," he would forsake cards and 
dice for ever, and never again be found within the pre- 
cincts of a gaming-house, to the latest hour of his life. 
I have seen that singular and affecting document. The 
letters, especially those forming the signature, are more 
like the tremulous handwriting of a man of eighty, than 
of one but twenty-one ! Perceiving that he was late, 
he hurriedly affixed a black seal to his signature, — once 

* Mr Beauchamp had removed from his hotel into private lodging* 
near Pall Mall, about a month before the above-mentioned visit to 



302 MOTHER AND SON. 

more ran his eye over the doomed L. 5000, and sallied 
out to dinner. 

When he reached Mr Apsley's he found all the com- 
pany assembled, apparently in high spirits, and all eager 
for dinner. You would not have thought of the black 
hearts that beat beneath such gay and pleasing exteriors 
as were collected round Apsley's table ! Not a syllable 
of allusion was made during dinner-time to the subject 
which filled every one's thoughts, — play. As if by mu- 
tual consent, that seemed the only interdicted topic ; but 
as soon as dinner and dessert, both of them first-rate, 
were over, a perfectly understood pause took place ; and 
Beauchamp, who, with the aid of frequent draughts of 
champagne, had worked himself up to the proper pitch, 
was the first to propose with eagerness, the fatal adjourn- 
ment to the gaming-table. Every one rose in an instant 
from his seat, as if by appointed signal, and in less than 
five minutes' time they were all, with closed doors, seat- 
ed around the tables. 

Here piles of cards, and there the damned dice. 

They opened with Hazard. Beauchamp was the first 
who threw, and he lost ; but as the stake was compara- 
tively trifling, he neither was, nor appeared to be, an- 
noyed. He was saving himself for Rouge et Noir ! — 
The rest of the company proceeded with the game, and 
got gradually into deeper play, till at length heavy bet- 
ting was begun. Beauchamp, who declined joining them, 
sat watching with peculiar feelings of mingled sympathy 
and contempt the poor fellow whom the gang were " pi- 
geoning." How painfully it reminded him of his own 
initiation ! A throng of bitter recollections crowded ir- 



MOTHER AND SON. 303 

resistibly through his mind, as he sat for a while with 
leisure for contemplation. The silence that was main- 
tained was broken only by the rattling of the dice-box, 
and an occasional whisper when the dice were thrown. 
The room in which they were sitting, was furnished 
with splendour and elegance. The walls were entirely 
concealed beneath valuable pictures, in massive and taste- 
ful frames, the gilding of which glistened with a pecu- 
liarly rich effect beneath the light of a noble ormolu lamp, 
suspended from the ceiling. Ample curtains of yellow 
flowered satin, drawn closely together, concealed the 
three windows with their rich draperies ; and a few Go- 
thic-fashioned bookcases, well filled, were stationed near 
the corners of the room, with rare specimens of Italian 
statuary placed upon them. The furniture was all of 
the most fashionable and elegant patterns ; and as the 
trained eye of Beauchamp scanned it over, and marked 
the correct taste Avith which every thing was disposed, 
the thought forced itself upon him — " how many have 
been beggared to pay for all this !" His heart flutter- 
ed. He gazed on the flushed features, the eager eyes, 
the agitated gestures of those who sat at the table. Di- 
rectly opposite was Sir Edward Streighton, looking at- 
tentively at the caster — his fine expansive forehead bor- 
dered with slight streaks of black hair, and his large lus- 
trous eyes glancing like lightning from the thrower to 
the dice, and from the dice to the betters. His features, 
regular, and once even handsome, bore now the deep 
traces of long and harrowing anxiety. " Oh, that one," 
thought Beauchamp, " so capable of better things, bear- 
ing on his brow nature's signet of superiority, should 
have sunk into — a sivindler .'" While these thoughts 



304 MOTHER AND SON. 

were passing through his mind, Sir Edward suddenly 
looked up, and his eyes settled for an instant on Beau- 
champ. Their expression almost withered him ! He 
thought he was gazing on " the dark and guilty one," 
who had coldly led him up to ruin's brink, and was wait- 
ing to precipitate him. His thoughts then wandered 
away to long banished scenes, — his aged mother, his 
ruined forsaken Ellen, both of whom he was beggaring, 
and breaking their hearts. A mist seemed diffused 
through the room — his brain reeled ; his long-stunned 
heart revived for a moment, and smote him heavily. 
" Oh ! that I had but an opportunity— never so slight 
an opportunity," he thought, " of breaking from this 
horrid enthralment, at any cost !" He started from his 
painful reverie, and stepped to a side-table, on which a 
large bowl of champagne punch had just been placed, 
and sought solace in its intoxicating fumes. He re- 
sumed his seat at the table ; and he had looked on scarce- 
ly a few minutes, before he felt a sudden, unaccountable 
impulse to join in at Hazard. He saw Apsley placing 
in his pocket-book some bank-notes, which he had that 
moment received from the poor victim before spoken of 
— and instantly betted with him heavily on the next 
throw. Apsley, somewhat surprised, but not ruffled, 
immediately took him; the dice were thrown — and to his 
own astonishment, and that of all present, Beauchamp 
won £300 — actually, bona fide, won £300 from Apsley, 
who for once was off his guard ! The loser was nettled, 
and could with difficulty conceal his chagrin ; but he 
had seen, while Beauchamp was in the act of opening 
his pocket-book, the amount of one or two of his largest 
bills, and his passion subsided. 



MOTHER AND SON. 305 

At length his hour arrived. Rouge et Noir followed 
Hazard, and Beauchamp's pulse quickened. When it 
came to his turn, he took out his pocket-book and coolly 
laid down stakes which aimed at the bank. Not a word 
was spoken ; but looks of wonder and doubt glanced 
darkly around the table. What was the fancied ma- 
noeuvre which Beauchamp now proceeded to practise I 
know not ; for, thank God, I am ignorant — except on 
hearsay — of both the principles and practice of gaming. 
The eagle eye of Apsley, the tailler, was on Beauchamp's 
every movement. He tried — he lost, half his large 
stake ! He pressed his hand upon his forehead — he saw 
that every thing depended on his calmness. The voice 
of Apsley sounded indistinctly in his ears, calling out, 
" apres !" Beauchamp suffered his stakes to remain, 
and be determined by the next event. He still had con- 
fidence in his scheme ; but, alas ! the bubble at length 
burst, and Beauchamp in a trice found himself minus 
X 3000. All hope was now over, for his trick was clear- 
ly worth nothing, and he had lost every earthly oppor- 
tunity of recovering himself. Yet he went on — and 
on — and on — and on ran the losing colour, till Beau- 
champ lost every thing he had brought with him ! He 
sat down, sunk his head upon his breast, and a ghastly 
hue overspread Kis face. He was offered unlimited credit. 
Apsley gave him a slip of paper with I.O.U. on it, tell- 
ing him to fill it up with his name, and any sum he 
chose. Beauchamp threw it back, exclaiming, in an un- 
der tone, " No— swindled out of all." 

" What did you say, sir ?" inquired Apsley, rising 
from the table, and approaching his victim. 

" Merely that I had been swindled out of all my for- 



306 MOTHER AND SON. 

tune," replied Beauchamp, without rising from his seat. 
There was a dead silence. 

" But, my good sir ! don't you know that such lan- 
guage will never do ?" inquired Apsley, in a cold con- 
temptuous tone, and with a manner exquisitely irritat- 
ing. 

Half maddened with his losses — with despair and fury 
— Beauchamp sprang out of his chair towards Apsley, 
and with an absolute howl, dashed both his fists into his 
face. Consternation seized every one present. Table, 
cards, and bank-notes, all were deserted, and some threw 
themselves round Beauchamp, others round Apsley, who, 
sudden as had been the assault upon him, had so quick- 
ly thrown up his arms, that he parried the chief force of 
Beauchamp's blow, and received but a slight injury over 
his right eye. 

" Pho ! pho ! the boy is drunk" he exclaimed, coolly, 
observing his frantic assailant struggling with those who 
held him. 

" Ruffian ! swindler ! liar !" gasped Beauchamp. Ap- 
sley laughed aloud. 

" What ! dare not you strike me in return ?" roared 
Beauchamp. 

" Ay, ay, my fine fellow," replied Apsley, with im- 
perturbable nonchalance ; " but dare you have struck me 
when you were in cool blood, and I on my guard ?" 

" Struck you, indeed, you abhorred" 

" Let us see, then, what we can do in the morning, 
when we've slept over it," retorted Apsley, pitching his 
card towards him contemptuously. " But, in the mean 
time, we must send for constables, unless our young 
friend here becomes quiet. Come, Streighton, you are 



MOTHER AND SON. 307 

croupier — come, Hillier — Bruton — all of you, come — 
play out the stakes, or we shall forget where we were." 
Poor Beauchamp seemed suddenly calmed when Ap- 
sley's card was thrown towards him, and with such cold 
scorn. He pressed his hands to his bursting temples, 
turned his despairing eyes upwards, and muttered as if 
he were half-choked, " Not yet — not yet !" He paused 
— and the dreadful paroxysm seemed to subside. He 
threw one of his cards to Apsley, exclaiming hoarsely, 
" When, where, and how you will, sir !" 

" Why, come now, Beau, that's right — thafs like a 
man !" said Apsley, with mock civility. " Suppose we 
say to-morrow morning ? I have cured you of roguery 
to-night, and, with the blessing of God, will cure you of 
cowardice to-morrow. But, pardon me, your last stakes 
are forfeit," he added, abruptly, seeing Beauchamp ap- 
proach the spot where his last stake, a bill for £ 100, was 
lying, not having been taken up. He looked appeal- 
ingly to the company, who decided instantly against 
him. Beauchamp, with the hurry and agitation conse- 
quent on his assault upon Apsley, had forgotten that he 
had really played away the note. 

" Well, sir, there remains nothing to keep me here," 
said Beauchamp, calmly — with the calmness of despair 
— " except settling our morning's meeting. Name your 
friend, sir," he continued sternly — yet his heart was 
breaking within him. 

" Oh — ay," replied Apsley, carelessly looking up from 
the cards he was shuffling and arranging. " Let me see. 
Hillier, will you do the needful for me ? I leave every 
thing in your hands." After vain attempts to bring about 
a compromise — for your true gamblers hate such affairs. 



308 MOTHER AND SON. 

not from personal fear, but the publicity they occasion 
to their doings — matters were finally arranged, Sir Ed- 
ward Streighton undertaking for Beauchamp. The hour 
of meeting was half-past six o'clock in the morning ; and 
the place, a field near Knightsbridge. The unhappy 
Beauchamp then withdrew, after shaking Sir Edward 
by the hand, who promised to call at his lodgings by 
four o'clock — " for we shall break up by that time, I 
dare say," he whispered. 

When the door was closed upon Beauchamp, he reel- 
ed off the steps and staggered along the street like a 
drunken man. Whether or not he was deceived he knew 
not ; but in passing under the windows of the room 
where the fiendish conclave were sitting, he fancied he 
heard the sound of loud laughter. It was about two 
o'clock of a winter's morning. The snow fell fast, and 
the air was freezingly cold. Not a soul but himself 
seemed stirring. A watchman, seeing his unsteady gait, 
crossed the street, touched his hat, and asked if he should 
call him a coach; but he was answered with such a ghast- 
ly imprecation, that he slunk back in silence. Tongue 
cannot tell the distraction and misery with which Beau- 
champ's soul was shaken. Hell seemed to have lit its 
raging fires within him. He felt affrighted at being alone 
in the desolate, dark, deserted streets. His last six 
months' life seemed unrolled suddenly before him like a 
blighting scroll, written in letters of fire. Overcome by 
his emotions, his shaking knees refused their support, 
and he sat down on the steps of a house in Piccadilly. 
He told me afterwards, that he distinctly recollected 
feeling for some implement of destruction ; and that if he 
had discovered his penknife, he should assuredly have 



MOTHER AND SON. 309 

cut his throat. After sitting on the stone for about a 
quarter of an hour, bareheaded — for he had removed his 
hat, that his burning forehead might be cooled — he made 
towards his lodgings. He thundered impetuously at the 
door, and was instantly admitted. His shivering half- 
asleep servant fell back before his master's affrighting 
countenance, and glaring bloodshot eyes. " Lock the 
door, sir, and follow me to my room," said Beauchamp 
in a loud voice. 

" Sir — sir — sir," stammered the servant, as if he were 
going to ask some question. 

" Silence, sir !" thundered his master ; and the man, 
laying down his candle on the stairs, went and barred the 
door. Beauchamp hurried up stairs, and opened the 
door of his sitting-room. He was astonished and alarm- 
ed to find a blaze of light in the room. Suspecting fire, 
he rushed into the middle of the room, and beheld — his 
mother and cousin bending towards him, and staring fix- 
edly at him with the hue and expression of two marble 
images of horror ! His mother's white hair hung dishe- 
velled down each side of her ghastly features ; and her 
eyes, with those of her niece, who sat beside her, clasp- 
ing her aunt convulsively round the waist, seemed on 
the point of starting from their sockets. They moved 
not — they spoke not. The hideous apparition vanished 
in an instant from the darkening eyes of Beauchamp, for 
he dropped the candle he held in his hand, and fell at 
full length senseless on the floor. 

It was no ocular delusion — nothing spectral — but hob- 
ror looking out through breathing flesh and blood, in 
the persons of Mrs Beauchamp and her niece. 



310 MOTHER AND SON. 

The resolution which Mrs Beauchamp had formed, 
on an occasion which will be remembered by the reader, 
was to go up direct to London, and try the effect of a 
sudden appearance before her erring, but she hoped not 
irreclaimable son. Such an interview might startle him 
into a return to virtue. Attended by the faithful Pritch- 
ard, they had arrived in town that very day, put up at a 
hotel in the neighbourhood, and, without pausing to take 
refreshments, hurried to Mr Beauchamp's lodgings, which 
they reached only two hours after he had gone out to 
dinner. Seeing his desk open, and a paper lying upon 
it, the old lady took it up, and, freezing with fright, read 
the oath before named, evidently written in blood. Her 
son, then, was gone to the gaming-table in the spirit of 
a forlorn hope, and was that night to complete his and 
their ruin ! Yet what could they do ? Mr Beauchamp's 
valet did not know where his master was gone to din- 
ner, nor did any one in the house, or they would have 
sent off instantly to apprize him of their arrival. As it 
was, however, they were obliged to wait for it ; and it 
may therefore be conceived in what an ecstasy of agony 
these two poor ladies had been sitting, without tasting 
wine or food, till half past two o'clock in the morning, 
when they heard his startling knock — his fierce voice 
speaking in curses to the valet, and at length beheld him 
rush, madman-like, into their presence, as has been de- 
scribed. 

When the valet came up stairs from fastening the 
street-door, he saw the sitting-room door wide open; 
and peeping through, on his way up to bed, was con- 
founded to see three prostrate figures on the floor — his 
master here, and there the two ladies, locked in one an- 



MOTHER AND SON. 311 

other's arms, all motionless. He hurried to the bell, and 
pulled it till it broke, but not before it had rung such a 
startling peal, as woke every body in the house, who 
presently heard him shouting at the top of his voice, 
"Murder! murder! murder!" All the affrighted in- 
mates were in a few seconds in the room, half-dressed, 
and their faces full of terror. The first simultaneous 
impression on the minds of the group was, that the per- 
sons lying on the floor had been poisoned ; and under 
such impression was it that I and two neighbouring sur- 
geons were summoned on the scene. By the time I had 
arrived, Mrs Beauchamp was surviving ; but her niece 
had swooned away again. The first impulse of the mo- 
ther, as soon as her tottering limbs could support her 
weight, was to crawl trembling to the insensible body of 
her son. Supported in the arms of two female attend- 
ants, who had not as yet been able to lift her from the 
floor, she leant over the prostrate form of Beauchamp, 
and murmured, " O, Henry ! Henry ! Love ! — my only 
love !" Her hand played slowly over his damp features, 
and strove to part the hair from the forehead — but it 
suddenly ceased to move — and, on looking narrowly at 
her, she was found to have swooned again. Of all the 
sorrowful scenes it has been my fate to witness, I never 
encountered one of deeper distress than this — Had I 
known at the time the relative situations of the parties ! 

I directed all my attentions to Mr Beauchamp, while 
the other medical gentlemen busied themselves with Mrs 
Beauchamp and her niece. I was not quite sure whe- 
ther my patient were not in a fit of epilepsy or apo- 
plexy, for he lay motionless, drawing his breath at long 
and painful intervals, with a little occasional convulsive 



312 MOTHER AND SON. 

twitching of the features. I had his coat taken off im- 
mediately, and bled him from the arm copiously ; soon 
after which he recovered his consciousness, and allowed 
himself to be led to bed. He had hardly been undress- 
ed, before he fell fast asleep. His mother was bending 
over him in speechless agony — for, ill and feeble as she 
was, we could not prevail on her to go to bed — and I 
was watching both with deep interest and curiosity, 
convinced that I was witnessing a glimpse of some do- 
mestic tragedy, when there was heard a violent knock- 
ing and ringing at the street door. Every one started, 
and with alarm inquired what that could be ? Who could 
be seeking admission at four o'clock in the morning ? 

Sir Edward Streighton ! — whose cabriolet, with a case 
of duelling pistols on the seat, was standing at the door, 
waiting to convey himself and Beauchamp to the scene 
of possible slaughter fixed on over-night. He would 
take no denial from the servant ; declared his business 
to be of the most pressing kind ; and affected to disbe- 
lieve the fact of Beauchamp's illness — " It was all miser- 
able fudge," and he was heard muttering something about 
" cowardice .'" The strange pertinacity of Sir Edward 
brought me down stairs. He stood fuming and cursing 
in the hall ; but started on seeing me come down, with 
a candle in my hand, and he turned pale. 

" Doctor . — — - !" he exclaimed, taking off his hat ; for 
he had once or twice seen me, and instantly recognised 
me, " Why, in the name of heaven, what is the matter ? 
Is he ill ? Is he dead ? What ?" 

" Sir Edward," I replied, coldly, " Mr Beauchamp is 
in dangerous, if not dying, circumstances." 

" Dying circumstances !" he echoed, with an alarmed 



MOTHER AND SON. 313 

air. " Why — has he — has he attempted to commit sui- 
cide ?" he stammered. 

" No, but he has had a fit, and is insensible in bed. 
You will permit me to say, Sir Edward," I continued, a 
suspicion occurring to me of his design in calling, " that 
this untimely visit looks as if" 

" That is my business, Doctor," he replied, haughtily, 
" not yours. My errand is of the highest importance ; 
and it is fitting I should be assured, on your solemn 
word of honour, of the reality of Mr Beauchamp's ill- 
ness." 

" Sir Edward Streighton," said I, indignantly, " you 
have had my answer, which you may believe or disbe- 
lieve, as you think proper ; but I will, at all events, take 
good care that you do not ascend one of these stairs to- 
day." 

" I understand it all !" he answered, with a significant 
scowl, and left the house. I then hastened back to my 
patient, whom I now viewed with greater interest than 
before ; for I saw that he was to have fought a duel that 
morning. Coupling present appearances with Mr Beau- 
champ's visit to me the day before, and the known cha- 
racter of Sir Edward, as a professed gambler, the key to 
the whole seemed to me, that there had been a gaming- 
house quarrel. 

The first sensible words that Mr Beauchamp spoke, 
were to me : " Has Sir Edward Streighton called ? — 
Is it four o'clock yet ?" and he started up in his bed, 
staring wildly around him. Seeing himself in bed — 
candles about him — and me at his side, he exclaimed, 
" Why, I recollect nothing of it ! Am I wounded ? 
What is become of Apsley ?" He placed his hand on 



314 MOTHER AND SON. 

the arm from which he had been bled, and, feeling it 
bandaged, — " Ah ! — in the arm — How strange that I 
have forgotten it all ! — How did I get on at Hazard and 
Rouge et Noir ? — Doctor, am I badly wounded ? — Bone 
broken ?" 

My conjecture was now verified beyond a doubt. He 
dropped asleep, from excessive exhaustion, while I was 
gazing at him. I had answered none of his questions — 
which were proposed in a dreamy unconnected style, in- 
dicating that his senses were disturbed. Finding that 
I could be of no farther service at present, I left him, 
and betook myself to the room to which Mrs Beauchamp 
had been removed, while I was conversing with Sir 
Edward. I found her in bed, attended by Miss Beau- 
champ, who, though still extremely languid, and looking 
the picture of broken-heartedness, had made a great ex- 
ertion to rouse herself. Mrs Beauchamp looked dread- 
fully ill. The nerves seemed to have received a shock 
from which she might be long in recovering. " Now, 
what is breaking these ladies' hearts ?" thought I, as I 
looked from one agitated face to the other. 

" How is my son ?" inquired Mrs Beauchamp, faintly. 

I told her I thought there was no danger ; and that, 
with repose, he would soon recover. 

" Pray, madam, allow me to ask — Has he had any 

sudden fright ? I suspect" Both shook their heads, 

and hung them down. 

" Well — he is alive, thank Heaven— but a beggar .'" 
murmured Mrs Beauchamp. Oh, Doctor he hath fallen 
among thieves ! They have robbed, and would have 
slain my son — my first born — my only son !" 

I expressed deep sympathy. I said, " I suspect, 
madam, that something very unfortunate has happened." 



MOTHER AND SOX. 315 

She interrupted me by asking, after a pause, if I knew 
nothing of his practices in London for the last few 
months, as she had seen my name several times men- 
tioned in his letters, as his medical adviser. I made no 
reply. I did not even hint my suspicions that he had 
been a frequenter of the gaming-table ; but my looks 
startled her. 

" Oh, Doctor , for the love of God, be frank, and 

save a widowed mother's heart from breaking ! Is there 
no door open for him to escape ?" 

Seeing they could extract little or no satisfactory ex- 
planation from me, they ceased asking, and resigned 
themselves to tears and sorrow. After rendering them 
what little service was in my power, and looking in at 
Mr Beauchamp's room, where I found him still in a com- 
fortable sleep, I took my departure ; for the dull light of 
a winter morning was already stealing into the room, and 
I had been there ever since a little before four o'clock. 
All my way home I felt sure that my patient was one of 
the innumerable victims of gambling, and had involved 
his family in his ruin. 

Mr Beauchamp, with the aid of quiet and medicine, 
soon recovered sufficiently to leave his bed ; but his mind 
was evidently ill at ease. Had I known at the time 
what I was afterwards apprized of, with what intense and 
sorrowful interest should I have regarded him ! 

The next week was all agony, humiliation, confessions, 
and forgiveness. The only one item in the black cata- 
logue which he omitted or misrepresented, was the duel 
he was to have fought. He owned, after much pressing, 
in order to quiet his mother and cousin, that he had 
fought, and escaped unhurt. But Beauchamp, in his 



316 MOTHER AND SON. 

own mind, was resolved, at all events, to give Apsley the 
meeting on the very earliest opportunity. His own ho- 
nour was at stake ! — his own revenge was to be sated ! 
The first thing, therefore, that Beauchamp did, after he 
was sufficiently recovered to be left alone, was to drop 
a hasty line to Sir Edward Streighton, informing him 
that he was now ready and willing — nay, anxious to give 
Apsley the meeting which he had been prevented doing, 
only by his sudden and severe illness. He entreated 
Sir Edward to continue, as heretofore, his friend, and to 
hasten the matter as much as possible ; adding, that 
whatever event might attend it, was a matter of utter in- 
difference to one who was weary of life. Sir Edward, 
who began to wish himself out of a very disagreeable af- 
fair, returned him a prompt, polite, but not very cordial 
answer ; the substance of which was, that Apsley, who 
happened to be with Sir Edward when Beauchamp's let- 
ter arrived, was perfectly ready to meet him at the place 
formerly appointed, at seven o'clock, on the ensuing 
morning. Beauchamp was somewhat shocked at the 
suddenness of the affair. How was he to part, overnight 
— possibly for ever — from his beloved, and injured as 
beloved, mother and cousin ? Whatever might be the 
issue of the affair, what a monster of perfidy and ingra- 
titude must he appear to them ! 

Full of these bitter, distracting thoughts, he locked his 
room door, and proceeded to make his will. He left 
" every thing he had remaining on earth, in any shape," 
to his mother, except a hundred guineas to his cousin to 
buy a mourning ring. That over, and some few other 
arrangements completed, he repaired, with a heart that 
smote him at every step, to his mother's bedside ; for it 



MOTHER AND SON. 317 

was night, and the old lady, besides, scarcely ever left 
her bed. The unusual fervour of his embraces, together 
%vith momentary fits of absence, might have challenged 
observation and suspicion ; but they did not. He told 
me afterwards, that the anguish he suffered, while re- 
peating and going through the customary evening adieus 
to his mother and cousin, might have atoned for years 
of guilt ! 

After a nearly sleepless night, Beauchamp rose about 
five o'clock, and dressed_himself. On quitting his room, 
perhaps the last time he should quit it alive, he had to 
pass by his mother's door. There he fell down on his 
knees : and continued, with clasped hands and closed 
eyes, till his smothering emotions warned him to be gone. 
He succeeded in getting out of the house without alarm- 
ing any one ; and, muffled in his cloak, made his way as 
fast as possible to Sir Edward Streighton's. It was a 
miserable morning. The untrodden snow lay nearly a 
foot deep on the streets, and was yet fluttering fast down. 
Beauchamp found it so fatiguing to plunther on through 
the deep snow, and was so benumbed with cold, that he 
called a coach. He had great difficulty in rousing the 
driver, who, spite of the bitter inclemency of the weather, 
was sitting on his box, poor fellow, fast asleep, and even 
snoring — a complete hillock of snow, which lay nearly 
an inch thick upon him. How Beauchamp envied him ! 
The very horses, too, lean and scraggy as they looked — 
fast asleep — their scanty harness all snow-laden — how he 
envied them ! 

It was nearly six o'clock, when Beauchamp reached 
Sir Edward's residence. The Baronet was up, and wait- 
ing for him. 



318 MOTHER AND SON. 

" How d'ye do, Beauchamp — how d'ye do ? — How 
the d are you to fight in such a fog as this ?" he in- 
quired, looking through the window, and shuddering at 
the cold. 

" It must be managed, I suppose. Put us up as close 
as you like," replied Beauchamp, gloomily. 

" I've done all in my power, my dear fellow, to settle 
matters amicably, but 'tis in vain, I'm afraid. You must 
exchange shots, you know ! — I have no doubt, however," 
he continued, with a significant smile, " that the thing 
will be properly conducted. Life is valuable, Beau- 
champ ! You understand me ?" 

" It is not to me — I hate Apsley as I hate hell." 

" My God, Beauchamp ! What a bloody humour you 
have risen in !" exclaimed the Baronet, with an anxious 
smile. He paused, as if for an answer, but Beauchamp 
continued silent. — " Ah, then, the sooner to business the 
better. And harkee, Beauchamp," said Sir Edward, 
briskly, " have your wits about you, for Apsley, let me 
tell you, is a splendid shot !" 

" Pooh !" exclaimed Beauchamp, smiling bitterly. He 
felt cold from head to foot, and even trembled ; for a 
thousand fond thoughts gushed over him. He felt faint, 
and would have asked for a glass of wine or spirits : but 
after Sir Edward's last remark, that was out of the ques- 
tion. It might be misconstrued ! 

They were on the ground by seven o'clock. It had 
ceased snowing, and in its stead a small drizzling rain 
was falling. The fog continued so dense as to prevent 
their seeing each other distinctly at more than a few 
yards' distance. This puzzled the parties not a little, 
and threatened to interfere with business. 



MOTHER AND SON. 319 

" Every thing, by , is against us to-day !" ex- 
claimed Sir Edward, placing under his arm the pistol 
he was loading, and buttoning his great-coat up to the 
chin, — " this fog will hinder your seeing one another, 

and this rain will soak through to the priming ! In 

fact, you must be put up within eight or ten feet of one 
another." 

" Settle all that as soon, and as you like," replied Beau- 
champ, walking away a few steps. 

" Hallo — here ! — here !" cried Sir Edward — " Here ! 
here we are, Hillier," seeing three figures, within a few r 
yards of them, searching about for them. Apsley had 
brought with him Hillier and a young surgeon. 

The fog thickened rapidly as soon as they had come 
together, and Apsley and Beauchamp took their stand 
at a little distance from their respective friends. 

" Any chance of apology ?" inquired Hillier, — a keen- 
eyed, hawk-nosed, ci-devant militaire. 

" The devil a bit. Horridly savage." 

" Then let us make haste," replied Hillier, with sang 
froid. 

" Apsley got drunk after you left this morning, 

and I've had only half an hour's sleep," continued Hil- 
lier, little suspecting that every word they were saying 
was overheard by Beauchamp, who, shrouded, by the 
fog, was standing at but three or four yards' distance. 

" Apsley drunk ? Then 'twill give Beauchamp, poor 
devil, a bit of a chance." 

" And this fog ! How does he stand it ? Cool ?" 

" As a cucumber. That is to say, he is cold — very 
cold — ha, ha ! But I don't think he funks either. Told 
me he hated Apsley like hell, and we might put him up 
as we liked ! But what does vour man say ?" 



320 MOTHER AND SON. 

" Oh, full of ' pooh-poohs /' and calls it a mere baga- 
telle." 

" Do mischief ? — eh ?" 

" Oh — he's going to try for the arm or knee, for the 
fellow hurt his eye the other night." 

" What— in this fog ! My . !" 

" Oh, true ! Forgot that — Ha, ha ! — What's to be 
done ? — Come, it's clearing off a bit." 

" I say, Hillier," whispered Sir Edward in a low tone 
— " suppose mischief should be done ?" 

" Suppose! — and suppose — it should'nt ? You'll never 
get your pistol done ! — So, now !" 

" Now, how far ?" 

" Oh, the usual distance. Step them out the baker's 
dozen. Give them every chance, for God favours them." 

" But they won't see one another any more than the 
dead ! 'Tis a complete farce — and the men themselves 
will grumble. How can they mark ?" 

" Why, here's a gate close by. I came past it. 'Tis 
white and large. Put them in a line with it." 

" Why, Beauchamp will be hit, poor devil !" 

" Never mind — deserves it, d fool !" 

The distance duly stepped out, each stationed his man. 

" I shall not stand against this gate, Streighton," said 
Beauchamp, calmly. The Baronet laughed, and replied, 
" Oh, you're right, my dear fellow. We'll put you, then, 
about three or four yards from it on one side." They 
were soon stationed, and pistols put into their hands. 
Both exclaimed loudly that they could not see their man. 
" So much the better. A chance shot ! — We sha'nt put 
you any nearer," said Sir Edward — and the principals 
suddenly acquiesced. , 



MOTHER AND SON. 321 

" Now, take care to shoot at one another, not at us, 
in this cursed fog," said Sir Edward, so as to be heard 
by both. " We shall move off about twenty yards away 
to the right here. I will say — one ! two ! three ! — and 
then, do as you like." 

" The Lord have mercy on you !" added Hillier. 

" Come, quick ! quick ! — 'Tis cursedly cold, and I 

must be at 's by ten," cried Apsley, petulantly. The 

two seconds and the surgeon moved off. Beauchamp 
could not catch even a glimpse of his antagonist — to 
whom he was equally invisible. " Well," thought they, 
" if we miss, we can fire again !" In a few moments Sir 
Edward's voice called out loudly — " One ! — two ! — 
three !" 

Both pistol-fires flashed through the fog at once, and 
the seconds rushed up to their men. 

" Beauchamp, where are you ?" — " Apsley, where are 
you ?" 

" Here !" replied Beauchamp ; but there was no an- 
swer from Apsley. He had been shot through the head ; 
and in groping about, terror-struck, in search of him, 
they stumbled over his corpse. The surgeon was in an 
instant on his knees beside him, with his instruments 
out, but in vain. It was all over with Apsley. That 
heartless villain was gone to his account. Beauchamp's 
bullet, chance-shot as it was, had entered the right tem- 
ple, passed through the brain, and lodged in the oppo- 
site temple. The only blood about him was a little 
which had trickled from the wound, down the cheek, on 
the shirt-collar. 

" Is he killed ?" groaned Beauchamp, bending over 
the body, and staring at it affrightedly ; but before he 



322 MOTHER AND SON. 

could receive an answer from Sir Edward or Hillier, who, 
almost petrified, grasped each a hand of the dead body 
— he had swooned. The first words he heard, on re- 
covering his senses, were — " Fly ! fly ! fly !" Not com- 
prehending their import, he languidly opened his eyes, 
and saw people, some standing round him, and others 
bearing away the dead body. Again he relapsed into 
unconsciousness — from which he was aroused by some 
one grasping him rather roughly by the shoulder. His 
eyes glanced on the head of a constable's staff, and he 
heard the words — " You're in my custody, sir." 
% He started, and stared in the officer's face. 

" There's a coach awaiting for you, sir, by the road- 
side, to take you to Office." Beauchamp offered 

no resistance. He whispered merely, — " Does my mo- 
ther know ?" 

How he rode, or with whom, he knew not ; but he 
found himself, about nine o'clock, alighting at the door 
of the police-office, more dead than alive. 

While Beauchamp had lain insensible on the ground, 
the fog had completely vanished ; and Sir Edward and 
Hillier, finding it dangerous to remain, as passengers 
from the roadside could distinctly see the gloomy group, 
made off, leaving Beauchamp and the surgeon with the 
corpse of Apsley. Sir Edward flew to his own house, 
accompanied by Hillier. The latter hastily wrote a note 
to Apsley's brother, informing him of the event ; and 
Sir Edward despatched his own valet confidentially to 
the valet of Beauchamp, communicating to him the dread- 
ful situation of his master, and telling him to break it as 
he could to his friends. The valet instantly set off for 
the field of death, not, however, without apprizing, by 



MOTHER AND SON. 323 

his terrified movements, his fellow-servants, that some- 
thing terrible had happened. He found a few people 
still standing on the fatal spot, from whom he learned 
that his master had been conveyed a few minutes before 

to the Street Office — whither he repaired as fast 

as a hackney coach could carry him. When he arrived, 
an officer was endeavouring to rouse Mr Beauchamp 
from his stupor, by forcing on him a little brandy and 
water, in which he partly succeeded. Pale and breath- 
less, the valet rushed through the crowd of officers and 
people about the door, and flung himself at his master's 
feet, wringing his hands, and crying — " Oh, master ! — 
dear master ! — what have you done ! You'll kill your 
mother !" Even the myrmidons of justice seemed af- 
fected at the poor fellow's anguish ; but his unhappy 
master only stared at him vacantly, without speaking. 
When he was conducted into the presence of the magis- 
trate, he was obliged to be supported with a chair ; for 
he was overcome, not only by the horrible situation to 
which he had brought himself, but his spirits and health 
were completely broken down, as well by his recent ill- 
ness, as the wasting anxieties and agonies he had en- 
dured for months past. The brother of Apsley was pre- 
sent, raving like a madman ; and he pressed the case 
vehemently against the prisoner. Bail, to a very great 
amount, was offered, but refused ; and Beauchamp was 
eventually committed to Newgate, to take his trial at 
the next Old Bailey Sessions. Sir Edward Streighton 
and Hillier surrendered in the course of the day, but 
were liberated on their own heavy recognisances, and 
two sureties, each in a thousand pounds, to appear and 
take their trial at the Old Bailey. 



324 MOTHER AND SON. 

But what tongue can tell, what pen describe, the mad- 
dening horrors — the despair — of the mother and the be- 
trothed bride ? Not mine. Their sorrows shall be sa- 
cred for me. 

For not to me belongs 



To sound the mighty sorrows of thy breast, 
But rather far off stand, with head and hands 
Hung down, in fearful sympathy. Thy Ark of grief 
Let me not touch, presumptuous. 

To keep up, however, in some degree, the continuity 
of this melancholy narrative, I shall state merely, that 
I — who was called in to both mother and niece a few 
minutes after the news had smitten them like the stroke 
of lightning to the earth — wondered, was even con- 
founded to find either of them survive it, or retain a 
glimpse of reason. The conduct of Ellen Beauchamp 
ennobled her, in my estimation, into something above 
humanity. She succeeded, at length, in overmaster- 
ing her anguish and agitation, in order that she might 
minister to her afflicted aunt, in whose sorrow all con- 
sciousness or appreciation of her own seemed to have 
merged. For a whole week Mrs Beauchamp hovered, 
so to speak, about the open door of death, held back ap- 
parently, only by a sweet spirit of sympathy and con- 
solation, — her niece ! The first words she distinctly ar- 
ticulated, after many hours spent in delirious muttering, 
were, — " I will see my son !— I will see my son !" It 
was not judged safe to trust her alone, without medical 
assistance, for at least a fortnight. Poor Pritchard, for 
several nights, slept outside her bedroom door ! 

The first twenty-four hours of Beauchamp's incarce- 
ration in Newgate were horrible. He who, on such 



MOTHER AND SON. 325 

slight temptation, had beggared himself, and squandered 
away in infamy the fortunes of his fathers, — who had 
broken the hearts of his idolizing mother — his betrothed 
wife, — who had murdered a man, — was now alone ! 
— alone, in the sullen gloom of a prison ! 

The transaction above detailed, made much noise in 
London ; and disguised as it here is, in respect of names, 
dates, and places, there must be many who will recol- 
lect the true facts. There is one whose heart these 
pages will wither while he is reading ! 

Most of the journals, influenced by the vindictive mis- 
representations of Apsley's brother, gave a most dis- 
torted version of the affair, and, presumptuously antici- 
pating the decrees of justice, threw a gloomy hue over 
the prospects of the prisoner. He would certainly be 
convicted of murder, they said, executed, and dissect- 
ed ! The Judges were, or ought to be, resolved to put 
down duelling, and " never was there a more fitting op- 
portunity for making a solemn example," &c. &c. &c. 
One of the papers gave dark hints, that on the day of 
trial some extraordinary and inculpating disclosures 
would be made concerning the events which led to the 
duel. 

Mrs Beauchamp made three attempts during the third 
week of her son's imprisonment, to visit him, but, on 
each instance, fainted on being lifted into the carriage ; 
and at length desisted, on my representing the danger 
which accompanied her attempts. Her niece also seemed 
more dead than alive when she attended her aunt. Prit- 
chard, however — the faithful, attached Pritchard — often 
went to and fro between Newgate and the house where 
Mrs Beauchamp lodged, two or three times a-day, so 



326 MOTHER AND SON. 

that they were thus enabled to keep up a constant but 
sorrowful correspondence. Several members of the 
family had hurried up to London the instant they re- 
ceived intelligence of the disastrous circumstances above 
detailed, and it was well they did. Had it not been for 
their affectionate interference, the most lamentable con- 
sequences might have been anticipated to mother, niece, 
and son. I also, at Mrs Beauchamp's pressing instance, 
called several times on her son, and found him, on each 
visit, sinking into deeper and deeper despondency ; yet 
he seemed hardly sensible of the wretched reality and 
extent of his misery. Many a time when I entered his 
room — which was the most comfortable the governor 
could supply him — I found him seated at the table, with 
his head buried in his arms ; and I was sometimes 
obliged to shake him, in order that I might arouse him 
from his lethargy. Even then he could seldom be drawn 
into conversation. When he spoke of his mother and 
cousin, it was with an apathy which affected me more 
than the most passionate lamentations. 

I brought him one day a couple of white winter roses 
from his mother and Ellen, telling him they were sent 
as pledges of love and hope. He snatched them out of my 
hands, kissed them, and buried them in his bosom, saying 
" Lie you there, emblems of innocence, and blanch this 
black heart of mine, if you can !" I shall never forget 
the expression, nor the stern and gloomy manner in 
which this was uttered. I sat silent for some minutes. 

" Doctor, Doctor," said he hastily, placing his hands 
on his breast, " they are — I feel they are — thawing my 
frozen feelings ! — they are softening my hard heart ! O 
God ! merciful God ! I am becoming human again !" He 



MOTHER AND SON. 327 

looked at me with an eargerness and vivacity to which 
he had long been a stranger. He extended to me both 
his hands ; I clasped them heartily, and he burst into 
tears. He wept loud and long. 

" The light of eternal truth breaks in upon me ! Oh, 
my God ! hast thou then not forgotten me ?" He fell 
down on his knees, and continued, " Why, what a 
wretch — what a monster have I been !" He started to his 
feet. " Ah, ha, I've been in the lion's den, and am plucked 
out of it !" I saw that his heart was overburdened, and 
his head not yet cleared. I said therefore little, and let 
him go on by fits and starts. 

" Why, I've been all along in a dream ! Henry Beau- 
champ ! — in Newgate ! — on a charge of murder ! — 
Frightful!" He shuddered. "And my mother — my 
blessed mother ! — where — how is she ? Her heart bleeds 
— but no — no — no, it is not broken ! — and Ellen — Ellen 
— Ellen !" After several short choking sobs, he burst 
again into a torrent of tears. I strove to soothe him, 
but " he -would not be comforted." " Doctor, say no- 
thing to console me ! — Don't, don't, or I shall go mad ! 
Let me feel all my guilt ; let it crush me !" 

My time being expired, I rose and bade him adieu. 
He was in a musing mood, as if he were striving, with 
painful effort, to propose some subject to his thoughts 

to keep some object before his mind — but could not. 

I promised to call again, between then and the day of 
his trial, which was but a week off. 

The excruciating anxiety endured by these unhappy 
ladies, Mrs Beauchamp and her niece, as the day of trial 
approached — when the life or death of one in whom both 
their souls were bound up, must be decided on — defies 



328 MOTHER AND SON. 

description. I never saw it equalled. To look on the 
settled pallor — the hollow haggard features — the qui- 
vering limbs of Mrs Beauchamp — was heart-breaking. 
She seemed like one in the palsy. All the soothing, as 
well as strengthening medicines, which all my experi- 
ence could suggest, were rendered unavailing to such a 
" mind diseased," to " raze" such " a written sorrow 
from the brain." Ellen, too, was wasting by her side to 
a mere shadow. She had written letter after letter to 
her cousin, and the only answer she received was, — 

" Cousin Ellen ! How can you — how dare you — 
write to such a wretch as — Henry Beauchamp ?" 

These two lines almost broke the poor girl's heart. 
What was to become of her ? Had she clung to her 
cousin through guilt and through blood, and did he now 
refuse to love her, or receive her proffered sympathy ? 
She never wrote again to him till her aunt implored, 
nay, commanded her to write, for the purpose of indu- 
cing him to see them if they called. He refused. He 
was inflexible. Expostulation was useless. He turned 
out poor Pritchard, who had undertaken to plead their 
cause, with violence from his room. Whether he dread- 
ed the effects of such an interview on the shattered 
nerves, the weakened frame, of his mother and cousin, 
or feared that his own fortitude would be overpowered 
— or debarred himself of their sweet but sorrowful so- 
ciety, by way of penance, I know not ; but he returned 
an unwavering denial to every such application. I think 
the last mentioned was the motive which actuated him ; 
for I said to him, on one occasion, " Well, but, Beau- 
champ, suppose your mother should die before you have 
seen her, and received her forgiveness ?" He replied, 



MOTHER AND SON. 329 

sternly, " Well, I shall have deserved it." I could thus 
account for his feelings, without referring them to sul- 
lenness or obstinacy. His heart bled at every pore un- 
der the unceasing lashings of remorse ! On another oc- 
casion, he said to me, " It would kill my mother to see 
me here. She shall never die in a prison !" 

The day previous to his trial I called upon him, pur- 
suant to my promise. The room was full of counsel and 
attorneys ; and numerous papers were lying on the table, 
which a clerk was beginning to gather up into a bag 
when I entered. They had been holding their final con- 
sultation ; and left their client more disturbed than I had 
seen him for some days. The eminent counsel who had 
been retained, spoke by no means encouragingly of the 
expected issue of the trial, and reiterated the determina- 
tion to " do the very uttermost on his behalf." They 
repeated, also, that the prosecutor was following him up 
like a blood-hound ; that he had got scent of some evi- 
dence, against Beauchamp in particular, which would 
tell terribly against him — and make out a case of "malice 
prepense." — And, as if matters had not been already suf- 
ficiently gloomy, the attorney had learned, only that 
afternoon, that the case was to be tried by one of the 
judges who, it was rumoured, was resolved to make an 
example of the first duellist he could convict ! 

" I shall undoubtedly be sacrificed, as my fortune has 
been already," said Beauchamp, with a little trepidation. 
" Every thing seems against me. If I should be con- 
demned to death — what is to become of my mother and 
Ellen ?" 

" I feel assured of your acquittal, Mr Beauchamp," 
said I, not knowing exactly why, if he had asked me. 

" I am a little given to superstition, Doctor," he re- 



330 MOTHER AND SON. 

plied — " and I feel a persuasion — an innate conviction 
— that the grand finishing stroke has yet to descend — 
my misery awaits its climax." 

" Why, what can you mean, my dear sir ? — Nothing 
new has been elicited." 

" Doctor," he replied, gloomily — " I'll tell you some- 
thing. I feel I ought to die !" 

" Why, Mr Beauchamp ?" I asked, with surprise. 

" Ought not he to die who is at heart a murderer ?" 
he inquired. 

" Assuredly." 

" Then I am such an one. I meant to kill Apsley. 
I prayed to God that I might. I would have shot breast 
to breast, but I would have killed him, and rid the earth 
of such a ruffian," said Beauchamp, rising with much ex- 
citement from his chair, and walking hurriedly to and 
fro. I shuddered to hear him make such an avowal, 
and continued silent. I felt my colour changed. 

" Are you shocked, Doctor?" he inquired, pausing ab- 
ruptly, and looking me full in the face. " I repeat it," 
clenching his fist — " I would have perished eternally, 
to gratify my revenge. So would you," he continued, 
" if you had suffered as I have." With the last words 
he elevated his voice to a high key, and his eye glanced 
on me like lightning, as he passed and repassed me. 

" How can we expect the mercy we will not show ?" 
I inquired, mildly. 

" Don't mistake me, Doctor," he resumed, without 
answering my last question — " It is not death I dread, 
disturbed as I appear, but only the mode of it. Death 
I covet, as a relief from life, which has grown hateful ; 
but, great Heaven, to be hung like a dog !" 
" Think of hereafter !" I exclaimed. 



MOTHER AND SON. 331 

" Pshaw ! I'm past thoughts of that. Why did 
not God keep me from the snares into which I have 
fallen ?" 

At that moment came a letter from Sir Edward 
Streighton. When he recognised the superscription, he 
threw it down on the table, exclaiming, " There ! this 
is the first time I have heard from this accomplished 
scoundrel, since the day I killed Apsley." He opened 
it, a scowl of fury and contempt on his brow, and read 
the following flippant and unfeeling letter : — 

" Dear Brother in the bonds of blood ! 

" My right trusty and well beloved counsellor, 
and thine — Hillier, and thy unworthy E. S., intend duly 
to take our stand beside thee, at nine o'clock to-morrow 
morning, in the dock of the Old Bailey, as per recogni- 
sances. Be not thou cast down, O my soul ; but throw 
thou fear unto the dogs ! There's never a jury in Eng- 
land will convict us, even though, as I hear, that bloody- 
minded old is to try us ! We've got a good fellow 

(on reasonable terms, considering,) to swear he happen- 
ed to be present, and that we put you up at forty paces ! 
and that he heard you tender an apology to Apsley! 
The sweet convenient rogue ! ! ! What think you of 
that, dear Beau ? Yours ever — but not on the gallows. 
" Edw. Streighton. 

" P. S. I wish Apsley, by the way, poor devil ! had 
paid me a trifling hundred or two he owed me, before 
going home. But he went in a hurry, 'tis true. Catch 
me ever putting up another man before asking him if he 
has any debts unprovided for !" 

" There, there, Doctor !" exclaimed Beauchamp, fling- 
ing the letter on the floor, and stamping on it — " ought 



332 MOTHER AND SON. 

not I to go out of the world, for allowing such a fellow 
as this to lead me the dance of ruin ?" 

I shook my head. 

" Oh, did you but know the secret history of the last 
six months," he continued, bitterly, "the surpassing folly 
— the black ingratitude — the villanies of all kinds with 
which it was stained — you would blush to sit in the 
same room with me ! Would not it be so ?" 

" Come, come, Mr Beauchamp, you are raving !" I 
replied, giving him my hand, while the tears half blind- 
ed me ; for he looked the picture of contrition and hope- 
lessness. 

" Well, then," he continued, eyeing me steadfastly, 
" I may do what I have often thought of. You have a 
kind considerate heart, and I will trust you. By way 
of the heaviest penance I could think of — but, alas, how 
unavailing ! — I have employed the last week in writing 
my short, but wretched history. Read it — and curse, 
as you go on, my folly, my madness, my villany ! I've 
often laid down my pen, and wept aloud, while writing 
it ; and yet the confession has eased my heart. One 
thing, I think, you will see plainly, — that all along I 
have been the victim of some deep diabolical conspiracy. 
Those two vile fellows who will stand beside me to- 
morrow in the dock, like evil spirits — and the monster 
I have killed — have been the main agents throughout. 
I'm sure something will, ere long, come to light, and 
show you I am speaking the truth. Return it me," he 
continued, taking a packet from his table-drawer, sealed 
with black, " in the event of my acquittal, that I may 
burn it ; but, if I am to die, do what you will with it. 
Even if the world know of it, it cannot hurt me in the 



MOTHER AND SON. 333 

grave, and it may save some from Hazard and Rouge 
et Noir ! Horrible sounds !" 

I received the packet in silence, promising him to act 
as he wished. 

" How will my mother — how will Ellen — get over 
to-morrow ! Heaven have them in its holy keeping ! 
,My own heart quails at to-morrow ! — I must breathe a 
polluted atmosphere ; I must stand on the precise spot 
which has been occupied by none but the vilest of my 
species ; I shall have every eye in court fixed upon me 
— some with horror, others detestation — and some pity 
— which is worse than either. I must stand between 
two whom I can never look on as other than devils in- 
carnate ! My every gesture and motion — every turn 
of my face — will be noted down and published all over 
the kingdom, with severe, possibly insulting comments. 
Good God ! — how am I to bear it all ?" * * * 

" Have you prepared your defence, Mr Beauchamp ?" 
I inquired. He pointed languidly to several sheets of 
foolscap, full of scorings out, and said, with a sigh, " I'm 
afraid it is labour lost. I can say little or nothing. I 
shall not lie, even for my life ! I have yet to finish it." 

" Don't, then, let me keep you from it ! May God 
bless you, my dear sir, and send you an acquittal to- 
morrow ! — What shall I say to your mother — to Miss 
Beauchamp, if I see them to-night ?" 

His eyes glistened with tears — he trembled — shook 
his head, and whispered, " What can be said to them?" 

I shook him fervently by the hand. As I was quitting 
the door, he beckoned me back. 

" Doctor," he whispered, in a shuddering tone, " there 
is to be an execution to-morrow ! Five men will be 



334 MOTHER AND SON. 

hanged within ten yards of me ! I shall hear them, in 
the night, putting up the — gallows !" 

The memorable morning — for such it was, even to me 
— at length dawned. The whole day was rainy, cold, 
and foggy, as if the elements, even, had combined to de- 
press hearts already prostrate ! After swallowing a hasty 
breakfast, I set off for the Old Bailey, calling, for a few 
minutes, on Mrs Beauchamp, as I had promised her. 
Poor old lady ! She had not slept half an hour during 
the whole night ; and when I entered the room, she was 
lying in bed, with her hands clasped together, and her 
eyes closed, listening to one of the church prayers, which 
her niece was reading her. I sat down in silence ; and 
when the low tremulous voice of Miss Beauchamp had 
ceased, I shook her cold hand, and took my seat by her 
aunt. I pushed the curtain aside that I might see her 
distinctly. Her features looked ghastly. What savage 
work grief had wrought there ! 

" I don't think I shall live through this dreadful day," 
said she ; " I feel every thing dissolving within me ! — 
I am deadly sick every moment ; my heart flutters as if 
it were in expiring agonies ; and my limbs have little in 
them more than a corpse ! — Ellen, too, my sweet love ! 
she is as bad ; and yet she conquers it, and attends me 
like an angel !" 

" Be of good heart, my dear madam," said I ; " mat- 
ters are by no means desperate. This evening — I'll 
stake my life for it — you shall have your son in your 
arms !" 

" Ha !" quivered the old lady, clapping her hands, 
while a faint hysteric laugh broke from her colourless 
lips. 



MOTHER AND SON. . 335 

" Well, I must leave you — for I am going to hear the 
opening of the trial ; I promised your son as much last 
night." 

" How was he ?" faintly inquired Miss Beauchamp, 
who was sitting beside the fire, her face buried in her 
hands, and her elbows resting on her knees. The an- 
guished eyes of her aunt also asked me the question, 
though her lips spoke not. I assured them that he was 
not in worse spirits than I had seen him, and that I left 
him preparing his defence. 

" The Lord God of his fathers bless him, and deliver 
him !" moaned Mrs Beauchamp. As, however, time 
passed, and I wished to look in on one or two patients 
in my way, I began to think of leaving, though I scarcely 
knew how. I enjoined them to keep constantly by Mrs 
Beauchamp a glass of brandy and water, with half a tea- 
spoonful of laudanum in it, that she or her niece might 
drink of it whenever they felt a sudden faintness come 
over them. For farther security, I had also stationed 
for the day, in her bedroom, a young medical friend, who 
might pay her constant attention. Arrangements had 
been made, I found, with the attorney, to report the pro- 
gress of the trial every hour by four regular runners. 

Shaking both the ladies affectionately by the hand, I 
set off. After seeing the patients I spoke of, I hurried on 
to the Old Bailey. It was striking ten by St Sepulchre's 
clock when I reached that gloomy street. The rain was 
pouring down in drenching showers. I passed by the 
gallows, which they were taking down, and on which 
five men had been executed only two hours before. 
Horrid sight ! — The whole of the street along the ses- 
sions' house was covered with straw, thoroughly soaked 



336 MOTHER AND SON. 

with wet ; and my carriage-wheels rolled along it noise- 
lessly. I felt my colour leaving me, and my heart beat- 
ing fast, as I descended, and entered the area before the 
court-house, which was occupied with many anxious 
groups conversing together, heedless of the rain, and en- 
deavouring to get admittance into the court. The street 
entrance was crowded ; and it was such a silent — gloomy 
crowd, as I never before saw !— I found the trial had 
commenced — so I made my way instantly to the coun- 
sel's benches. The court was crowded to suffocation ; 
and, among the spectators, I recognised several of the 
nobility. Three prisoners stood in the dock — all of 
gentlemanly appearance ; and the strong startling light 
thrown on them from the mirror over-head, gave their 
anxious faces a ghastly hue. How vividly is that group, 
even at this distance of time, before my eyes ! On the 
right hand side stood Sir Edward Streighton — dressed 
in military style, with a black stock, and his blue frock- 
coat, with velvet collar, buttoned up close to his neck. 
Both his hands rested on his walking-stick ; and his head, 
bent a little aside, was attentively directed towards the 
counsel for the crown, who was stating the case to the 
jury. Hillier leaned against the left hand side of the 
dock, his arms folded over his breast, and his stern fea- 
tures, clouded with anxiety, but evincing no agitation, 
were gathered into a frown, as he listened to the strong 
terms in which his conduct was being described by the 
counsel. Between these stood poor Beauchamp, with 
fixed and most sorrowful countenance. He was dressed 
in black, with a full black stock, in the centre of which 
glistened a dazzling speck of diamond. Both his hands 
leaned upon the dock, on which stood a glass of sprin 



MOTHER AND SON. 337 

water ; and his face was turned full towards the judge. 
There was an air of melancholy composure and resig- 
nation about his wasted features ; and he looked dread- 
fully thin and fallen away. His appearance evidently 
excited deep and respectful sympathy. How my heart 
ached to look at him, when my thoughts reverted for an 
instant to his mother and cousin ! There was, however, 
one other object of the gloomy picture, which arrested 
my attention, and has remained with me ever since. 
Just beneath the witness-box, there was a savage face 
fixed upon the counsel, gloating upon his exaggerated 
violence of tone and manner. It was Mr Frederick 
Apsley, the relentless prosecutor. I never saw such' an 
impersonation of malignity. On his kness lay his fists, 
clenched, and quivering with irrepressible fury ; and the 
glances he occasionally cast towards the prisoners were 
absolutely fiendish. 

The counsel for the prosecution distorted and aggra- 
vated every occurrence on the fatal night of the quarrel. 
Hillier and Streighton, as he went on, exchanged con- 
founded looks, and muttered between their teeth : but 
Beauchamp seemed unmoved — even when the counsel 
seriously asserted he should be in a condition to prove, 
that Beauchamp came to the house of the deceased with 
the avowed intention of provoking him into a duel ; 
that he had been attempting foul play throughout the 
evening ; and that the cause of his inveteracy against 
the deceased, was the deceased's having won consider- 
ably. 

" Did this quarrel originate, then, in a gaming-house ?" 
inquired the judge, sternly. 

" Why — yes, my lord — it did, undoubtedly." 
vol. n. y 



338 MOTHER AND SON. 

" Pray, are the parties professed gamblers ?" 

The counsel hesitated. " I do not exactly know what 
your lordship means by professed gamblers, my lord ?" 

" Oh !" exclaimed the judge, significantly, " go on — 
go on, sir." I felt shocked at the virulence manifested 
by the counsel ; and I could not help suspecting him of 
uttering the grossest falsehoods, when I saw all three of 
the prisoners involuntarily turn towards one another, 
and lift up their hands with amazement. As his address 
seemed likely to continue much longer, profound as was 
the interest I felt in the proceedings, T was compelled 
to leave. I stood up for that purpose, and to take a last 
look at Beauchamp— when his eye suddenly fell upon 
me. He started — his lips moved — he looked at me an- 
xiously gave me a hurried bow, and resumed the at- 
tentive attitude in which he had been standing. 

I hurried away to see my patients, several of whom 
were in most critical circumstances. Having gone 
through most on my list, and being in the neighbour- 
hood, I stepped in to see how Mrs Beauchamp was go- 
ing on. When I entered her bedroom, after gently tap- 
ping at the door, I heard a hurried feeble voice exclaim, 
" There ! there ! who is that ?" It was Mrs Beauchamp, 
who endeavoured, but in vain, to raise herself up in bed, 
while her eyes stared at me with an expression of wild 
alarm, which abated a little, on seeing who I was. She 
had mistaken me, I found, for the hourly messenger. I 
sat down beside her. Several of her female relatives 
were in the room— a pallid group— having arrived soon 
after I had left. 

" Well, my dear madam, and how are you now ?" I 
inquired, taking the aged sufferer's hand in mine. 



MOTHER AND SON. 339 

" I may be better, Doctor — but cannot be worse. Na- 
ture tells me, the hour is come !" 

" I am happy to see you so well — so affectionately at- 
tended in these trying circumstances," said I, looking 
around the room. She made me no reply — but moan- 
ed — " Oh ! Henry, Henry, Henry ! — I would to God 
you had never been born ! — Why are you thus breaking 
the heart that always loved you so fondly !" She shook 
her head, and the tears trembled through her closed eye- 
lids. Miss Beauchamp, dressed in black, sat at the foot 
of the bed, speechless, her head leaning against the bed- 
post, and her pale face directed towards her aunt. 

" How are you, my dear Miss Beauchamp ?" inquired 
I. She made me no answer, but continued looking at 
her aunt. 

" My sweet love !" said her mother, drawing her chair 
to her, and proffering her a little wine and water, " Doc- 
tor is speaking to you. He asks you how you are ?" 

Miss Beauchamp looked at me, and pressed her white 
hand upon her heart, without speaking. Her mother 
looked at me, significantly, as if she begged I would not 
ask her daughter any more questions, for it was evident 
she could not bear them. I saw several slips of paper 
lying on a vacant chair beside the bed. They were the 
hourly billets from the Old Bailey. One of them was, 
— " 1 2 o'clock, O. B. Not quite so encouraging. Our 
counsel can't make much impression in cross-examina- 
tion. Judge seems rather turning against prisoner." 

" 1 o'clock, O. B. Nothing particular since last note. 
Prisoner very calm and firm." 

" 2 o'clock, O. B. Still going on as in last." 

" 3 o'clock, O. B. Mr Beauchamp just read his de- 



340 MOTHER AND SON. 

fence. Made favourable impression on the court. Many 
in tears. Acknowledged himself ruined by play. Ge- 
neral impression, prisoner victim of conspiracy." 

Such were the hourly annunciations of the progress of 
the trial, forwarded by the attorney, in whose handwrit- 
ing each of them was. The palsying suspense in which 
the intervals between the receipt of each was passed, 
and the trepidation with which they were opened and 

read, no one daring scarcely to touch them but Mr , 

the medical attendant, cannot be described. Mr M 

informed me that Mrs Beauchamp had been wandering 
deliriously, more or less, all day, and that the slightest 
noise in the street, like hurrying footsteps, spread dis- 
may through the room, and nearly drove the two prin- 
cipal sufferers frantic. Miss Beauchamp, I found, had 
been twice in terrible hysterics, but, with marvellous, 
self-possession, calmly left the room when she felt them 
coming on, and retired to the farthest part of the house- 
While Mr M and I were conversing in a low whis- 
per near the fire-place, a heavy, but muffled knock at 
the street door, announced the arrival of another express 
from the Old Bailey. Mrs Beauchamp trembled vio- 
lently, and the very bed quivered under her, as she saw 
the billet delivered into my hands. I opened it, and 
read aloud, — 

" 4 o'clock, O. B. Judge summing up — sorry to say, 
a little unfavourably to prisoner. Don't think, however, 
prisoner will be capitally convicted." Within this slip, 
was another, which was from Beauchamp himself, and 
addressed, — 

" Sweet loves ! — Courage ! The crisis approaches. I 
am not in despair. God is merciful ! May he bless you 
for ever and ever, my mother, my Ellen ! — H. B." 



MOTHER AND SON. 341 

The gloomy tenor of the last billet — for we could not 
conceal them from either, as they insisted on seeing them 
after we had read them — excited Mrs and Miss Beau- 
champ almost to frenzy. It was heart-rending to see 
them both shaking in every muscle, and uttering the 
most piteous moans. I resolved not to quit them till 
the event was known one way or another, and dismiss- 
ed Mr M , begging him to return home with the 

carriage, and inform my wife that I should not dine at 
home. I then begged that some refreshment might be 
brought in, ostensibly for my dinner, but really to give 
me an opportunity of forcing a little nourishment on my 
wretched patients. My meal, however, was scanty and 
solitary ; for I could scarcely eat myself, and could not 
induce any one else to touch food. 

" This must be a day of fasting /" sighed Mrs Beau- 
champ ; and I desisted from the attempt. 

"Mrs Beauchamp," inquired her sister-in-law, " would 
you like to hear a chapter in the Bible read to you ?" 
" Y — ye — yes !" she replied, eagerly ; " Let it be the 

parable of the prodigal son; and perhaps Dr will 

read it to us ?" 

What an affecting selection ! — Thinking it might serve 
to occupy their minds for a short time, I commenced 
reading it, but not very steadily or firmly. The re- 
lieving tears gushed forth freely from Mrs Beauchamp, 
and every one in the room, as I went on with that most 
touching, beautiful, and appropriate parable. When I 
had concluded, and amidst a pause of silent expecta- 
tion, another billet was brought : — 

5 o'clock, O. B. Judge still summing up with great 
pains. Symptoms of leaning towards the prisoner." 



342 MOTHER AND SON. 

Another agitating hour elapsed — how, I scarcelyknow; 
and a breathless messenger brought a sixth billet : — 

" 6 o'clock, O. B. Jury retired to consider verdict 
— been absent half an hour. Rumoured in court that 
two hold out against the rest — not known on which side." 

After the reading of this torturing note, which Mrs 
Beauchamp did not ask to see, she lifted up her shaking 
hands to Heaven, and seemed lost in a agony of prayer. 
After a few minutes spent in this way, she gasped, al- 
most inaudibly, — " Oh ! Doctor, read once more the pa- 
rable you have read, beginning at the twentieth verse." 
I took the Bible in my hands, and tremulously read, — 

" And he arose, and came to his father. But when 
he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had 
compassion," — (a short, bitter, hysteric laugh broke from 
Mrs Beauchamp,) — " and ran, and fell on his neck, and 
kissed him. 

* * * « A n( j b r i n g hither the fatted calf, and 
kill it : and let us eat and be merry ; 

" For this my son was dead and is alive again ; he 
was lost and is found : and they began" 

The death-like silence in which my trembling voice 
was listened to, was broken by the sound of a slight 
bustle in the street beneath, and the noise of some ap- 
proaching vehicle. We scarcely breathed. The sound 
increased. Miss Beauchamp slowly dropped on her knees 
beside the bed, and buried her ashy face in the clothes. 
The noise outside increased ; voices were heard ; and 
at length a short faint " huzza !" was audible. 

" There ! — I told you so ! He is free ! — My son is ac- 
quitted !" exclaimed Mrs Beauchamp, sitting in an in- 
stant upright in bed, stretching her arms upwards, and 



MOTHER AND SON. 343 

clapping her hands in ecstasy. Her features were lit up 
with a glorious smile. She pushed back her dishevelled 
gray hair, and sat straining her eye and ear, and stretch- 
ing forward her hands, as if to enjoin silence. 

Then was heard the sound of footsteps rapidly ascend- 
ing the stairs ; the door was knocked at, and before I 
could reach it, for the purpose of preventing any sudden 
surprise, in rushed the old steward, frantic with joy 
waving his hat over his head. 

" Not Guilty ! Not Guilty ! — Not Guilty, my 
lady !" he gasped, all in a breath, in defiance of my cau- 
tioning movements. " He's coming ! He's coming! He's 
coming, my lady !" Miss Beauchamp sank in an instant 
on the floor, with a faint scream, and was carried out of 
the room in a swoon. 

Mrs Beauchamp again clapped her hands. Her son 
rushed into the room, flung himself at her feet and 
threw his arms around her. For several moments he 
locked her in his embraces, kissing her with convulsive 
fondness. " My mother ! My own mother ! — Your son ! 
he gasped ;" but she heard him not. She had expired 
in his arms. 



To proceed with my narrative, after recounting such 
a lamentable catastrophe, is like conducting a spectator 
to the death-strewn plain, after the day of battle ! All 
in the once happy family of Beauchamp, was thenceforth 
sorrow, sickness, broken-heartedness, and death. As for 
the unhappy Beauchamp, he was released from the hor- 
rors of a prison, only to " turn his pale face to the wall," 
on a lingering, languishing, bed of sickness, which he 



.'344 MOTHER AND SON. 

could not quit, even to follow the poor remains of his 
mother to their final resting-place in shire. He was 

not only confined to his bed, but wholly unconscious of 
the time of the burial, for a fierce nervous fever kept 
him in a state of continual delirium. Another physi- 
cian and myself were in constant attendance on him. 
Poor Miss Beauchamp also was ill, and, if possible, in a 
worse plight than her cousin. The reader cannot be sur- 
prised that such long and intense sufferings should have 
shattered her vital energies — should have sown the seeds 
of consumption in her constitution. Her pale, emaciated, 
shadowy figure, is now before me ! — After continuing 
under my care for several weeks, her mother carried her 

home into shire, in a most precarious state, hoping 

the usual beneficial results expected from a return to na- 
tive air. Poor girl ! she gave me a little pearl ring, as 
a keepsake, the day she left ; and intrusted to me a rich 
diamond ring, to give to her cousin Henry. " It is too 
large now, for my fingers," said she, with a sigh, as she 
dropped it into my hand, from her wasted finger ! " Tell 
him," said she, " as soon as you consider it safe, that my 
love is his — my whole heart ! And though we may ne- 
ver meet on this side the grave, let him wear it to think 
of me, and hope for happiness hereafter !" These were 
among the last words that sweet young woman ever 

spoke to me. 

* * * * 

As the reader, possibly, may think he has been long 
enough detained among these sorrowful scenes, I shall 
draw them now to a close, and omit much of what I 
had set down for publication. 

Mr Beauchamp did not once rise from his bed during 



MOTHER AND SON. 345 

two months, the greater part ofi which time was passed 
in a state of stupor. At other periods he was delirious, 
and raved dreadfully about scenes with which the manu- 
script he committed to me in prison had made me long 
and painfully familiar. He loaded himself with the heavi- 
est curses, for the misery he had occasioned to his mo- 
ther and Ellen. He had taken it into his head that the 
latter was also dead, and that he had attended her funeral. 
He was not convinced to the contrary, till I judged it 
safe to allow him to open a letter she had addressed to 
him, under cover to me. She told him she thought she 
was " getting strong again ;" and that if he would still 
accept her heart and hand, in the event of his recovery, 
they were his unchangeably. Nothing contributed so 
much to Beauchamp's recovery as this letter. With what 
fond transports did he receive the ring Ellen had intrust- 
ed to my keeping ! 

His old steward, Pritchard, after accompanying his 
venerated lady's remains into the country, returned im- 
mediately to town, and scarcely ever after left his mas- 
ter's bedside. His officious affection rendered the office 
of the valet a comparative sinecure. Many were the 
piques and heart-burnings between these two zealous and 
emulous servants of an unfortunate master, on account 
of the one usurping the other's duty ! 

One of the earliest services that old Pritchard render- 
ed his master, as soon as I warranted him in so doing, 
was to point out who had been the " serpent in his path" 
— the origin — the deliberate, diabolical, designer of his 
ruin — in the person of his tutor. The shock of this dis- 
covery rendered Beauchamp speechless for the remain- 
der of the day. Strange and wise are the ways of Pro- 



346 MOTHER AND SON. 

vidence ! How does the reader imagine the disgraceful 
disclosures were brought about ? Sir Edward Streigh- 
ton, who had got into his hands the title-deeds of one of . 
the estates, out of which he and his scoundrel companions 
had swindled Beauchamp, had been hardy enough — . 
quern Deus vult perdere, prius dementat — to venture 
into a court of law, to prosecute his claim ! In spite of 
threatened disclosures, he pressed on to trial; when such 
a series of flagrant iniquities was developed, unexpect- 
edly to all parties, as compelled Sir Edward, who was 
in court incognito, to slip away, and, without even ven- 
turing home, embark for the Continent, and from thence 
to that common sewer of England, — America*. His 
papers were all seized under a judge's order, by Mr Beau- 
champ's agents ; and among them was found the letter 
addressed to him by Eccles, coolly commending his un- 
suspicious pupil to destruction ! 

Under Beauchamp's order, his steward made a copy 
of the letter, and enclosed it, with the following lines, to 
the tutor, who had since contrived to gain a vicarage ! 

" To the Reverend Peter Eccles, vicar of , 

" Sir, — A letter, of which the following is a copy, has 
been discovered, in your handwriting, among the papers 
of Sir Edward Streighton ; and the same post which 
brings you this, encloses your own original letter to Sir 

* His companion in villany, who in this narrative is called Hillier, 
brazened out the affair with unequalled effrontery, and continued in 
England till within the last very few years ; when, rank with roguery, 
he tumbled into the grave, and so cheated justice. The hoary villain 

might be seen nightly at Street, with huge green glasses — now 

up to his knees in cards — and then endeavouring, with palsied hand, 
to shake the dice with which he had ruined so many. 



MOTHER AND SON. 347 

Edward, with all necessary explanations, to the bishop 
of your diocese. 

" The monstrous perfidy it discloses will be forthwith 
made as public as the journals of the day can make it. 
" Thomas Pritchard, 
Agent for Mr Beauchamp" 
What results attended the application to the bishop, 
and whether or not the concluding threat was carried 
into effect, / have reasons for concealing. There are, 
who do not need information on those points. 

The first time that I saw Mr Beauchamp down stairs, 
after his long, painful, and dangerous illness, was on an 
evening in the July following. He was sitting in his 
easy-chair, which was drawn close to a bow-window, 
commanding an uninterrupted view of the setting sun. 
It was piteous to see how loosely his black clothes hung 
about him. If you touched any of his limbs, they felt 
like those of a skeleton clothed with the vestments of 
the living. His long thin fingers seemed attenuated and 
blanched to a more than feminine delicacy of size and 
hue. His face was shrunk and sallow, and his forehead 
bore the searings of a " scorching woe." His hair, na- 
turally black as jet, was now of a sad iron-gray colour ; 
and his eyes were sunk, but full of vivid, though melan- 
choly expression. The air of noble frankness, spirit, and 
cheerfulness, which had heretofore graced his counte- 
nance, was fled for ever. In short, to use the quaint 
expression of a sterling old English writer, " care had 
scratched out the comeliness of his visage." He appeared 
to have lost all interest in life, even though Ellen was 
alive, and they were engaged to be married within a few 
months ! In his right hand was a copy of Bacon's Es- 



348 MOTHER AND SON. 

says ; and on the little finger of his left I observed the 
rich ring given him by his cousin. As he sat, I thought 
him a fit subject for a painter ! Old Pritchard, dressed 
also in plain mourning, sat at a table, busily engaged with 
account-books and piles of papers, and seemed to be con- 
sulting his master on the affairs of his estate, when I en- 
tered. 

" I hope, Doctor, you'll excuse Mr Pritchard continu- 
ing in the room with us. He's in the midst of import- 
ant business," he continued, seeing the old man prepar- 
ing to leave the room ; " he is raj friend now, as well 
as steward; and the oldest, I may say only, friend I have 
left !" I entreated him not to mention the subject, and 
the faithful old steward bowed, and resumed his seat. 

" Well," said Mr Beauchamp, after answering the usual 
inquiries respecting his health, " I am not, after all, ab- 
solutely ruined in point of fortune. Pritchard has just 
been telling me that I have more than four hundred a- 
year left" 

" Sir, sir, you may as well call it a good £ 500 a-year," 
said Pritchard, eagerly, taking off his spectacles. " I am 
but £ 20 a-year short of the mark, and I'll manage that, 
by hook or by crook, and you — see if I don't !" Beau- 
champ smiled faintly. " You see, Doctor, Pritchard is 
determined to put the best face upon matters." 

" Well, Mr Beauchamp," I replied, " taking it even 
at the lower sum mentioned, I am sincerely rejoiced to 
find you so comfortably provided for." While I was 
speaking the tears rose in his eyes — trembled there for 
a few moments — and then, spite of all attempts to pre- 
vent them, overflowed. 

" What distresses you ?" I inquired, taking his slen- 



MOTHER AND SON. 349 

der fingers in mine. When he had a little recovered 
himself, he replied, with emotion, " Am I not compara- 
tively a beggar ? Does it suit to hear that Henry Beau- 
champ is a beggar ! Alas ! I have nothing now but misery 
— hopeless misery ! Where shall I go, what shall I do, 
to find peace ? Wherever I go, I shall carry a broken 

heart, and a consciousness that I have deserved it ! 

I — I, the murderer of two" 

" Two, Mr Beauchamp? What can you mean? The 
voice of justice has solemnly acquitted you of murder- 
ing the miserable Apsley — and who the other is" 

" My mother ! my poor, fond, doating mother ! I 
have killed her, as certainly as I slew the guilty wretch 
that ruined me ! My ingratitude pierced her heart, as 
my bullet his head ! That it is which distracts — which 
maddens me ! The rest I might have borne — even the 
anguish I have occasioned my sweet forgiving Ellen, 
and the profligate destruction of the fortunes of my 
house !" I saw he was in one of the frequent fits of des- 
pondency to which he was latterly subject, and thought 
it best not to interrupt the strain of his bitter retrospec- 
tions. I therefore listened to his self-accusations in si- 
lence. 

" Surely you have ground for comfort and consolation 
in the unalterable, the increasing attachment of your 
cousin ?" said I, after a melancholy pause. 

" Ah, my God! it is that which drives the nail deeper! 
I cannot, cannot bear it! How shall I dare to wed her? 
To bring her to an impoverished house — the house of a 
ruined gamester — when she has a right to rule in the halls 
of my fathers ? To hold out to her the arms of a mur- 
derer !" He ceased abruptly — trembled, clasped his 
hands together, and seemed lost in a painful reverie. 



350 MOTHER AND SON. 

" God has, after all, intermingled some sweets in the 
cup of sorrows you have drained : why cast them scorn- 
fully away, and dwell on the state of the bitter ?" 

" Because my head is disordered ; my appetites are 
corrupted. I cannot now taste happiness. I know it 
not ; the relish is gone for ever !" 

***** 

" In what part of the country do you propose resid- 
ing ?" I inquired. 

" I can never be received in English society again — 
and I will not remain here in a perpetual pillory — to be 
pointed at ! — I shall quit England for ever" 

" You shan't, though !" exclaimed the steward, burst- 
ing into tears, and rising from his chair, no longer able 
to control himself — " You sha'n't go," — he continued, 
walking hurriedly to and fro, snapping his fingers. 
" You sha'n't — no, you sha'n't, Master Beauchamp — 
though I say it that shouldn't ! — You shall trample on 
my old bones, first." 

" Come, come, kind old man ! — Give me your hand !" 

exclaimed Mr Beauchamp, affected by this lively show 

of feeling, on the part of his old and tried servant 

" Come, I won't go, then — I won't !' 

« Ah ! — point at you — point at you ! did you say, 

sir ? I'll be if I won't do for any one that points at 

you, what you did for that rogue Aps" 

" Hush, Pritchard !" said his master, rising from his 
chair, and looking shudderingly at him. 

The sun was fast withdrawing, and a portion of its 
huge blood-red disk was already dipped beneath the ho- 
rizon. Is there a more touching or awful object in na- 
ture ? — We who were gazing at it, felt that there was 



MOTHER AND SON. 351 

not. All before us was calmness and repose. Beau- 
champ's kindling eye assured me that his soul sympa- 
thized with the scene. 

" Doctor — Doctor" — he exclaimed, suddenly, — 
What, has come to me ? Is there a devil mocking me ? 
Or is it an angel whispering that I shall yet be happy ? 
May I listen — may I listen to it ?" — He paused. His 
excitement increased. " Oh ! yes, yes ! I feel intimate- 
ly — I know I am reserved for happier days ! God smil- 
eth on me, and my soul is once more warmed and en- 
lightened !" — An air of joy diffused itself over his fea- 
tures. I never before saw the gulf between despair and 
hope passed with such lightning speed ! — Was it return- 
ing delirium only ? 

" How can he enjoy happiness who has never tasted 
misery?" he continued, uninterrupted by me. " And may 
not he most relish peace, who has been longest tossed 
in trouble ! — Why — why have I been desponding ? — 
Sweet, precious Ellen ! I will write to you ! We shall 
soon meet ; we shall even be happy together ! — Pritch- 
ard," he exclaimed, turning abruptly to the listening 
steward — " what say you ! — Will you be my major-do- 
mo, — eh ? — Will you be with us our managing man in 
the country, once again ? — " 

" Ay, Master Beauchamp," — replied Pritchard, cry- 
ing like a child, — " as long as these old eyes, and hands, 
and head, can serve you, they are yours ! I'll be any 
thing yot'd l&e to make me !" 

" There's a bargain, then, between you and me ! — 
You see, Doctor, Ellen will not cast me off; and old 
Pritchard will cling to me ; why should I throw away 
happiness ?" 



352 MOTHER AND SON. 

" Certainly— certainly— there is much happiness be- 
fore you" 

" The thought is transporting, that I shall soon leave 
the scenes of guilt and dissipation for ever, and breathe 
the fresh and balmy atmosphere of virtue once a°-ain ! 
How I long for the time ! Mother, will you watch over 
your prodigal son ?" How little he thought of the af- 
fecting recollections he had called forth in my mind, by 
mentioning — the prodigal son ! 

I left him about nine o'clock, recommending him to 
retire to rest, and not expose himself to the cool of the 
evening. I felt excited, myself, by the tone of our con- 
versation, which, I suspected, however, had on his part 
verged far into occasional flightiness. / had not such 
sanguine hopes for him, as he entertained for himself. I 
suspected that his constitution, however it might rally 
for a time, from its present prostration, had received a 
shock before which it must erewhile fall ! 

About five o'clock the next morning, I and all my fa- 
mily were alarmed by one of the most violent and con- 
tinued ringings and thunderings at the door I ever heard. 
On looking out of my bedroom window, I saw Mr Beau- 
champ's valet below, wringing his hands, and stamping 
about the steps like one distracted. 

Full of fearful apprehension, I dressed myself in an 
instant, and came down stairs. 

" In the name of God, what is the matter ?" I inquir- 
ed, seeing the man pale as ashes. 

" Oh, my master! — come — come" — he gasped, and 
could get out no more. We both ran at a top speed to 
Mr Beauchamp's lodgings. Even at that early hour, 
there was an agitated group before the door. I rushed 



MOTHER AND SON. 3.53 

op stairs, and soon learnt all. About a quarter of an hour 
before, the family were disturbed by hearing Mr Beau- 
ehamp's Newfoundland dog, which always slept at his 
master's bed-room door, howling, whining, and scratch- 
ing against it The valet and some one else came to 
see what was the matter. They found the dog trem- 
bling violently, his eyes fixed on the floor ; and, on look- 
ing down, they saw blood flowing from under the door. 
The valet threw himself half-frantic against the door, and 
burst it open ; he rushed in, and saw all ! Poor Beau- 
champ, with a razor grasped in his right hand, was ly- 
ing on the floor lifeless ! 

I never now hear of a young man — especially of for- 
tune — frequenting the gaming-table, but I think with 
a sigh of Henry Beauchamp. 



I cannot resist the opportunity of appending to this 
narrative the following mournful testimony to its fide- 
lity, which appeared in the Morning Herald newspaper 
of the 19th October 1831 : — 

Sir, — There is an awful narrative in the current num- 
ber of Blackwood's Magazine, of the fate of a game- 
ster, which, in addition to the writer's assurances, bears 
intrinsic evidence of truth. Independent even of this, I 
can believe it all, highly coloured as some may consider 
it, — for I am a ruined gamester ! 

Yes, Sir, I am here, lying as it were rotting in gaol, 
because I have, like a fool, spent over the gaming-table 
all my patrimony ! Twenty-fire thousand pounds are all 

VOL. II. Z 



354 MOTHER AND SON. 

gone at Rouge et Noir and Hazard ! All gone ! I could 
not help thinking that the writer of that terrible account 
had me in his eye, or has been told something of my 
history ! 

When I shall be released from my horrid prison I know 
not ; but even when I am, life will have lost all its relish, 
for I shall be a beggar ! 

If I had a hundred pounds to spare, I would spend it 
all in reprinting the " Gambler" from Blackwood's 
Magazine, and distributing it among the frequenters of 

C 's and F 's, and other hells ! I am sure its 

overwhelming truth and power would shock some into 
pausing on the brink of ruin ! 

I address you, because your paper has been one of the 

most determined and successful enemies to gaming 

I am, Sir, yours obediently, 

A RUINED GAMESTER. 

Prison, Oct. 17. 



THE END.